Meal voucher scheme urgently needed
Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Lisa Chambers says the Agriculture Minister must roll out a meal voucher scheme for farmers affected by the fodder crisis as a matter of urgency.
She made the call following the announcement of a fodder transport subsidy by Minister Creed this afternoon.
Deputy Chambers explained, “There are farmers across Mayo who are in serious financial difficulty as a result of the fodder crisis. Many have had to rely on getting fodder from other counties at a substantial cost, and while today’s fodder transport subsidy will go some way towards these costs, it doesn’t address the primary issue.
“I hosted an agriculture meeting earlier this week and the fodder crisis was one of the main concerns being raised by farmers. They’re extremely angry at the Minister’s lack of action on this issue – particularly as there was a €78m underspend in the Department last year. Some of this money should be diverted to assist farmers who are struggling as a result of the fodder crisis.
“What we need is a meal voucher scheme, which would give greater supports to farmers to buy in fodder to feed their animals this winter. A recent Teagasc survey revealed that 85% of farmers affected by fodder shortages in the west and north-west region alone have less than half of the fodder they need on average for the winter period. This is simply not sustainable.
“Minister Creed needs to wake up to the seriousness of the situation on the ground. It has taken him far too long to act, and the announcement today falls well short of what’s needed. I will be working along with our Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue to continue to put pressure on Minister Creed to deliver a meal voucher scheme for our farmers”.