Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has warned that Minister Creed’s fodder transport measure could see prices accelerate as demand for fodder increases. Deputy McConalogue has criticised the Minister’s stand-alone measure, claiming that farmers will pay the price for this flawed scheme.

“The details of the scheme announced by Minister Creed today merely confirm the concerns that I expressed last week. I, along with the various farming organisations, have repeatedly called on Minister Michael Creed to provide a fodder support programme through the introduction of a meal voucher scheme. Unfortunately these calls have fallen on deaf ears, and if anything, the measures announced by the Minister has the potential to push fodder prices up further”, said Deputy McConalogue.

“The West and North West have been most severely impacted by the fodder crisis, and several farmers in these areas have outlined how they have less than half the fodder they need to get them through the winter.

“Teagasc has been advising farmers to prioritise the feeding of meal concentrates to plug the gap. As it’s a grain based product, there is no shortage of supply and it would reduce the demand for fodder. However, the Minister’s short-sighted scheme completely ignores this option, focusing solely on fodder transportation, therefore driving up the demand, and most likely the price. This will do nothing to help hard-pressed farmers.

“The Minister’s announcement is another example of this government’s obsession with spin over substance. The details unveiled today have the potential to exacerbate the dire financial predicament that farmers are facing, rather than easing the situation.

“I am calling on Minister Creed to establish a meal voucher scheme as a matter of urgency, before the fodder crisis spirals out of control leaving many family farms in a very precarious situation”.