IFA Connacht regional chairman Padraic Joyce said only two applications had been made to the Fodder Transport Scheme, which he described as clear evidence that the scheme is not working. He called on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed to rethink the Department's approach.
"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."
Mr Joyce continued: "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.
"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."
Mr Joyce 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.