A MEAL voucher system for farmers facing fodder shortages this Spring would have offered better value for money than a subsidy for transporting silage across the country at a huge cost, Fianna Fáil have stated.
The party have also said that there are now fears that the transport subsidy for the movement of silage, hay and straw may lead to a price increase over the coming weeks for this feed.
Roscommon-Galway FF TD, Eugene Murphy, said that with the Dept. of Agriculture having a ‘huge under-spend’ of €78 million last year, there was ample funding available for the meal voucher scheme.
He said that it was his understanding that the meal voucher scheme would have been of the order of €40 per tonne, which would not have placed any undue demands of the Dept. of Agriculture budget.
“The introduction of meal vouchers would have offered a better value solution than transporting fodder across the country at huge cost.
“It’s not too late for Minister Creed to do the right thing by establishing a meal voucher scheme as a matter of urgency, before the fodder crisis spirals out of control,” said Deputy Murphy.
The IFA and other farming organisations had sought a two-pronged relief scheme to help farmers in the North-West and West regions, who do not have enough silage to see them through the critical Spring feeding period.
However, Minister Creed refused to budge any meal voucher scheme but agree last week to provide a transport subsidy of €12 per round bale (for silage and hay) and €8 for straw.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.