Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed’s acknowledgement today of the extent and seriousness of the fodder shortage across the country is too little too late, IFA President Joe Healy has said.
He said the Minister’s announcement that he will subsidise the importation of fodder is welcome but should have been in place before now. “The detail of the import subsidy scheme must be worked out immediately to ensure it gets up and running, and fodder can get to farmers in need without any further delay,” Joe Healy said.
The easing of the 100km rule in the Fodder Transport Scheme is an attempt to resurrect a failed scheme that is tied up with too much red tape, Joe Healy said.
IFA had spelled out a number of practical actions the Minister should take to alleviate the stress for farmers, such as the introduction of a meal voucher system and the suspension of inspections on farms.
IFA has sought a meeting with the Minister to follow up on these issues, and will be insisting that he implement these as a matter of urgency.
Among the measures proposed by IFA are
- The introduction of a meal voucher system
- A subsidy for the importation of fodder from abroad
- Meetings with the main banks to urge them to support farmers struggling to make repayments and promptly process loan applications
- The Department of Agriculture must roll out its low-cost loan package, as committed in the most recent budget, as a matter of urgency.
- The Department should suspend all inspections on farms and ask Bord Bia to suspend all Bord Bia farm audits.
- All outstanding payments under the various schemes must be made to farmers as a matter of urgency.
- A derogation on the three-crop rule Greening for tillage farmers under CAP Greening
- Flexibility on GLAS Scheme specifications