40,000t of fodder identified for importation by ‘key players’

About 40,000t of fodder has been identified by “key players” for importation into Ireland, according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

The minister revealed the figure as he discussed issues relating to fodder shortages and the drought at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Agriculture Committee this evening (Tuesday, September 4).

Commenting on the progress of the recently announced €4.25 million Fodder Import Support Measure, Minister Creed said: “The funding will cover about 80,000t.

As I understand it, about 17 importers – co-ops and others – are approved under the scheme and about 40,000t I think have been identified already by some of the key players.

“Some is already in the country and some has options taken on it.”

‘Constant contact’

While the scheme was announced in recent weeks, the minister stated that his department has been in “constant contact” with stakeholders who have “established track records” when it comes to importing fodder.

“They would have been aware of our thinking and our deliberations on all of these matters. They have been out there in the market place sourcing and taking options.

“The best chance we have of getting out of this [fodder crisis is by] availing of the window of opportunity that is there between now and whenever the growing season ends, whether it’s sooner or later.

“We have to maximise every opportunity; through the tillage scheme, through farmers getting second cuts – and where possible a third cut – and by using the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) concessions.

Every available opportunity has to be maximised; it may not be for yourself, but it could be for your neighbour or somebody else.

The minister underlined the fact that the importation of fodder is not a long-term solution to the problem at hand and that other measures will have to be taken.