Fodder transport subsidy ‘not working, with too much bureaucracy’
The “miniscule” level of applications made to the fodder transport scheme is clear evidence that the scheme is not working, Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Connacht regional chairman Padraic Joyce has said.
“When only two farmers have applied to the scheme – despite obvious and ongoing fodder difficulties on a significant number of farms – it is clear that a rethink is needed and Minister Creed must come forward with a more meaningful scheme to include meal vouchers, which have proven successful in the past during times of fodder shortage,” Joyce said.
It was clear from early on that the transport subsidy was not working; there is far too much bureaucracy involved and farmers are forced to jump through too many hoops to access support.
“As an example, the lower limit of €100 of a transport subsidy means that smaller farmers will not get into the scheme,” the chairman said.
“Fodder shortages will become even more apparent now following the recent storm, as fodder that would have been available from the south and south-east of the country may be in doubt,” Joyce warned.
He said a meal voucher system is the simplest solution to the grave situation, and he urged the minister to act early to properly support affected farmers.
It emerged yesterday that only two farmers have lodged applications for the fodder transport subsidy, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
“As of this morning [Tuesday, March 6], two completed applications for the fodder transport measure have been received in department offices in Portlaoise,” a department spokesperson said.
However, the spokesperson was quick to explain that this was to be expected, adding:
This is not unexpected as farmers may be holding off submitting application forms until they receive the required amount of fodder thereby only submitting one declaration form from the co-operative.