IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell said the TB Forum established by the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has failed to deliver on the key objective of involving stakeholders.
He said the Forum, under the chairmanship of Michael Cronin, has merely functioned as a vehicle
for the Department of Agriculture to impose their views, while continuing to ignore the voice of farmers, who are the single largest contributor to TB eradication.
Pat Farrell said farmer costs in the programme have risen by 15% since 2012, while the costs of other contributors have reduced.
Direct farmer contributions increased by €4.513m from €30.641m to €35.154m, DAFM contributions reduced by €289,000 from €45.825m to €45.536m and the EU Co-financing reduced by €1.337m from €11.085m to €9.748m.
The funding shift between 2012 and 2018 represents an increase of 15% for farmers, a reduction of 1% for the national exchequer and a reduction of 12% by the EU.
The IFA Chairman said against this background and the enormous costs and losses imposed on farmers in the TB programme, IFA made detailed submissions on necessary changes to the Live Valuation Scheme, Income Supplement Scheme, Depopulation Grant Scheme and the Hardship Grant to offset the burden on farmers.
However, the representatives of the Minister for Agriculture at the Forum have stated they will not support any increases to compensation rates for farmers. This has frustrated the work of the Forum and prevented any meaningful progress.
Pat Farrell said this approach clearly shows the lack of appreciation and understanding from the Minister’s officials of the impact that controls are imposing on farmers and their families.
He called on the Minister for Agriculture to immediately clarify his position on this critical issue for farmers.
He said the Minister must confirm to farmers if the views expressed by his officials at the TB Forum are consistent with his views and if not resolve the issue as a matter of urgency.
Pat Farrell said the TB burden has gone on for too long and eradication must be the objective, but this cannot be attained by the usual Department of Agriculture simplistic approach of just tightening controls on farmers and increasing the cost burden while ignoring the stress, trauma and economic impact these controls have on farmers and their families.