Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has welcomed the announcement by the Minster for Agriculture, after sustained pressure by Fianna Fáil, that the Imported Fodder Transport Scheme will be extended by one week.
The Dáil debated a special Fianna Fáil motion on the fodder crisis this week; where an extension to the scheme was requested.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented: “I welcome the fact that Minister Simon Coveney has acceded to my request to extend the Imported Fodder Transport Scheme by one week to Friday May 17th.
“The extension of the deadline was vital in light of the poor weather some parts of the country have experienced over the past week. I welcome the fact that solidarity has been shown between politicians to the benefit of the agriculture industry. Farmers will now not be faced with purchasing bales of hay they may not need after next week if the weather picks up. This will lift a huge weight off the shoulders of farmers, who have been under intense pressure in recent months.
“While this move by the Minister will provide temporary respite for farmers, co-ops and farming organisations; this doesn’t hide the fact that longer term action is needed to prevent a similar crisis next year.
“I have already called for the Minister to arrange for free advice to be made available from Teagasc this year on how to maximise fodder output while the stocking density guidelines for the Disadvantaged Area Scheme (DAS) also should be relaxed.
“Minister Coveney needs to learn the lessons from the fodder crisis and ensure the desperation many farmers experienced this year will not be repeated.”