Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue TD has called on Minister Creed to urgently provide clarity surrounding a transport subsidy which he has said will be made available to co-ops and fodder agents to tackle the serious shortage affecting farmers across the country.

Deputy McConalogue said this morning, “As far back as September last year, farmers and farming organisations were vocal of warnings that an impending crisis in fodder supply would occur should it not be urgently addressed.

“Months on and here we are; Minister Creed’s blatant refusal to act in advance has led farmers nationwide into an emergency situation where fodder reserves are fast running out.

“The Minister’s failure to address the situation has had a direct impact on the severe conditions affecting farms.

“As of today the Minister has still not clarified or published the details of the transport subsidy scheme he says he has planned to assist with importing fodder into the country.

“There is a degree of confusion among farmers, co-ops and fodder agents as to who is eligible to avail of the subsidy, how to go about accessing it and what it entails.

“Minister Creed needs to outline a clear plan to deal with this crisis and more specifically publish the details of this scheme so that co-op’s and agents can get on with importing fodder.

He added, “Following an unusually long and cold winter, many farmers do not have capital available to them to meet the cost of buying in additional fodder. A transport subsidy is only one element of the plan that is required to effectively tackle the crisis.

“A fodder voucher scheme is also needed so that farmers in financial difficulty can receive financial help to afford to buy the fodder they need to protect their farms in the immediate future.”