A fodder import scheme will have to be part of the Government’s response to the drought conditions as soon as possible to give co-ops and merchants the best chance of sourcing fodder from other countries, IFA president Joe Healy has said.
Healy said Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has to introduce an import scheme to help alleviate problems for the coming winter.
“Farmers will save as much fodder as they can, but it is very unlikely that we will be able grow enough. An import scheme would help to meet the demand," he said.
The IFA president said the organisation is still waiting for clarification on key GLAS derogations for low-input grassland and catch crops, which would help to release more land to conserve fodder.
“Farmers also need more flexibility on fertiliser application rules to allow them to maximise grass growth in the next few months,” he said.
The IFA president again called on Minister Creed to introduce immediately the low-cost loans which were promised in last October’s Budget, adding that these loans must be available for working capital.
“Many farmers have now run up huge bills with their co-ops and merchants purchasing additional feed. Opening up the loans would make available over €150m in liquidity for farmers which would help to pay feed and other bills,” Healy said.
“All direct payments have to be rolled out on time, starting with the increased ANC payment next month and the 70% advance payment under the Basic Payment Scheme in October.”
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