Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Food and Horticulture, Jackie Cahill TD has said that Minister Creed must come to next week’s Agriculture Committee meeting which is focused on the current fodder crisis with answers to three main issues.

Deputy Cahill who requested that the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee meet to discuss this crisis has said that rural Ireland is struggling to deal with the implications of the ongoing fodder crisis.

“There are three main areas that must be dealt with head on. First, we need low cost credit facilities rolled out to struggling farmers. Secondly, we need to secure new export markets for dairy cross cattle to reduce demands on fodder and finally, the Department must actively start important large quantities of fodder into the country in advance of winter.

“Farmers, merchants and contractors are struggling with cash flow. The Government must roll out low cost credit facilities to ensure that farmers have the cash needed to keep their businesses afloat.

“Budget 2018 contained many commitments that still have yet to be met. The Government could go a long way to supporting struggling farmers if they kept the promises made in the last budget.

“We need to also ensure that banks when awarding low interest credit give it to the struggling farmers rather than to farmers who would use the credit for investment.

“Secondly, Bord Bia must be refocused to actively seek out new live export markets for dairy cross cattle. Per kilo prices are now 50% of what they were this time last year. Finding new markets for these animals would produce a twofold impact – increase competition and reduce the demand on existing fodder stocks.

“Finally, the Department of Agriculture must start the importation of large quantities of fodder from overseas now and not wait any longer. Waiting until we are engulfed in a further crisis is short termism and highly dangerous.

“Minister Creed at next week’s meeting must grasp the urgency of the crisis, and come to the committee members with answers and responses to the above issues,” concluded Cahill.