Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has called for the Fodder Import Subsidy Scheme announced this evening by the Minister for Agriculture to be made available through all Co-Ops as well as private feed merchants.

“The Scheme is inexplicably confined to the Dairy Co-Ops and excludes Mart CoOps as well as private feed merchants.  This means that many parts of the country which do not have a strong Dairy Co-Op network will struggle to avail of fodder through the scheme. In particular, the Ministers decision to confine the subsidy to Dairy Co-Ops would disadvantage those in the suckler and sheep farming sectors that are also under massive pressure to source scarce fodder to manage livestock through the next few weeks.

“In spring 2013, all Co-Ops were eligible to avail of the subsidy scheme introduced to import fodder and it makes no sense that Minister Creed would now exclude Mart Co-Ops and private feed merchants that are well placed to serve the needs of their local farming community.

“Minister Creeds very narrow scheme reflects a Minister who is trying to play catch up on a crisis that he has failed to prepare for and smacks of a Minister making it up as he goes along.

“It is crucial that Minister Creed immediately extends eligibility for the Fodder Import Subsidy Scheme to ensure fodder supply can be sourced for farmers in all sectors and throughout the country,” concluded McConalogue.