Creed called upon to address 3 ‘fundamental issues’ at upcoming meeting

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has been called upon to address three “fundamental issues” at an upcoming meeting of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Scheduled to take place on Tuesday, September 4, the meeting is scheduled to focus on fodder shortages and drought issues.

Fianna Fail’s Jackie Cahill believes that the minister must be in attendance at next week’s meeting in order to address issues regarding: low-cost credit; live exports; and the importation of fodder.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, deputy Cahill said: “There are three main areas that must be dealt with head on. First, we need low-cost credit facilities rolled out to struggling farmers.

Secondly, we need to secure new export markets for dairy-cross cattle to reduce demands on fodder; and finally, the department must actively start importing large quantities of fodder into the country in advance of the winter.

“Farmers, merchants and contractors are struggling with cash flow. The Government must roll out low-cost credit facilities to ensure that farmers have the cash needed to keep their businesses afloat,” he said.

Continuing, the Fianna Fail TD outlined that the Government could go a long way to supporting struggling farmers if they kept the promises made in Budget 2018.

He believes that banks must award low-cost credit to struggling farmers, rather than to farmers “who use the credit for investment”.

Live export markets

Furthermore, deputy Cahill is of the opinion that Bord Bia must be “refocused to actively seek out new live export markets for dairy-cross cattle”.

Per kilo prices are now 50% of what they were this time last year. Finding new markets for these animals would produce a two-fold impact – increase competition and reduce the demand on existing fodder stocks.

“Finally, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine must start the importation of large quantities of fodder from overseas now and not wait any longer,” he said.

Concluding, Fianna Fail’s Jackie Cahill indicated that Minister Creed must “grasp the urgency of the crisis” at next week’s meeting.