THE €4.25 million Fodder Import Scheme announced by Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed needs to be aided by the immediate introduction of the low cost loan scheme promised in last year’s Budget, as farmers face into a difficult Winter scenario.
IFA leaders have now called on Minister Creed to make these low cost loans on a ‘working capital’ basis to ensure that farmers have the cashflow to supplement fodder supplies following the harsh Spring and subsequent Summer drought.
Minister Creed has also been called upon to ‘confirm and clarify’ once-off modifications to the GLAS environmental scheme, also aimed at easing the fodder supply situation on Irish farms.
Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, said that while the Fodder Import Scheme was to be welcomed, it needed to be backed up with the immediate introduction of the cheap loans scheme as had been outlined in the Budget last October.
“Farmers are facing into a serious financial and cashflow situation this Autumn and really there can be no excuse for not having introduced a low cost loan scheme that was contained in the Budget of October last year.
“We may not have fared as badly in the West of Ireland as other parts of the country in relation to the Summer drought – and the recent improvement in grass growth is to be welcomed – but overall we are looking at a situation where the fodder yield could be down by as much as 40%,” said Anne Mitchell.
She said that the immediate introduction of the low cost loans scheme would be a great help to farmers as long it would be made available to them on the basis of such loans being provided for the purchase of fodder supplies.
IFA President Joe Healy said that some co-ops and merchants had identified available fodder abroad and this allowed them to put their plans in place.
“It is also important that changes under GLAS are confirmed and clarified as a matter of urgency. The flexibility to allow conservation of fodder on fallow ground is welcome, but urgent movement on the Low-Input Grassland measure is critical. This will allow farmers to conserve extra fodder,” said Joe Healy.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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