THE MUNSTER farming community has been failed by the Minister for agriculture, food and marine, Michael Creed TD, according to Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins who said the department has left the fodder crisis deepen and spread nationwide.
Farmers throughout the dairy heartland of Munster and South Leinster have been left in crisis as fodder supplies dwindle.
In a bid to combat the shortages, a forage register to connect feed buyers and sellers is being established by Teagasc and it is expected that the register will help farmers who have run out of fodder to source silage and other feed supplies from those with surplus stocks.
However, Deputy Collins, newly appointed as the party spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that “Minister Creed has lost touch with hard pressed farmers.
“He has effectively switched off, judging by his comments earlier this week that it is the “individual responsibility” of each farmer to ensure there is enough fodder on farms.
“This is a shocking state of affairs and shows how out of touch Fine Gael is with rural Ireland.
“This government lacks empathy and has failed to grasp the severity of the situation of farmers who are struggling to survive as the cold wet weather continues unabated.
“We are now into April and poor soil conditions are preventing farmers from putting their cattle out to grass.
“The government’s transport subsidy scheme has been a gigantic failure with just nine applications to date. The Minister totally misjudged the situation.
Deputy Collins said that from day one, “I have called for a meal voucher scheme to be set up for farmers affected.
“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 ignored this, focusing solely on fodder transportation, therefore driving up the demand, and the price of hay and silage bales nationwide.
“Minister Creed must step up to the mark and realise that farmers are genuinely struggling. This government’s anti-rural attitude cannot be allowed to persist”, Deputy Collins added.
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