Farmers across the country “will cut their cloth to measure” to avoid another crisis, Fianna Fail’s agriculture spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue, said today.

Deputy McConalogue was speaking this morning (Tuesday, April 17) from the plinth of Leinster House, as his party prepares to bring forward motions in the Dail and the Seanad calling for the Government to take immediate action to remedy the current fodder crisis.

Commenting on the matter, he said: “The farming community will respond coming into this year. They will understand that fodder supplies are depleted and I think there will be an effort made to try and ensure that extra fodder is saved to make up for that.

“We have come off a very difficult year and farmers will be hoping for better growth and a better year.

I think, with the warning that’s in place, farmers will cut their cloth to measure as the year progresses and will be prioritising ensuring that there is adequate fodder in place for next winter.

The Donegal TD was joined by members of the party’s agriculture and rural team, including: Jackie Cahill TD; Niamh Smyth TD; and senator Paul Daly.

‘Sailing straight into fodder crisis 2019’

Addressing the media gathered on the plinth, senator Paul Daly said: “I think a major problem at the moment also is that people are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel with good forecasts for the coming weeks; but this is actually the beginning of the fodder crisis 2019, if it is not managed correctly going forward.

“A lot of farmers have used up all of their credit with their merchants in buying extra feed and fodder that they didn’t plan on buying. Now some are not going to be in a position to buy fertiliser to rebuild the stocks of fodder that have been used up during the crisis.

If it is not managed correctly and if we do not sail smoothly out of this fodder crisis, we will be actually sailing straight into crisis 2019.

Avoiding another fodder crisis

Steps must be taken to avoid another fodder crisis, deputy McConalogue argued.

“Given the fact that this is the second year in five that there has been a fodder crisis, we need to ensure that this is the last time that the Government is unprepared for this and that we end up in a situation where fodder needs to imported into the country.

“We need to see a system and a structure put in place, through a standing committee, to actually monitor fodder supplies in the country and to ensure that the Government is prepared to provide the leadership required if such a situation arises again,” he said.

Monitoring fodder supplies

As part of the motions being brought forward by Fianna Fail this week in the Dail and the Seanad, calls have been made for a special standing committee to be established to monitor fodder supplies to ensure a fodder crisis does not emerge again.

It is hoped that the committee would comprise of all stakeholders, including representatives from the: professional organisations; the advisory organisations; the farming organisations; as well as the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Concluding, deputy McConalogue said: “The Government and the minister in particular were in denial at all stages that there was a crisis.

They denied it and said there wasn’t going to be one – and yet we find ourselves standing here with farmers across the country in tremendous difficulty.

“So that needs to be avoided again and we need a situation in future where the Government actually do listen to the warnings,” he said.