Yesterday Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, announced further details of the transport subsidy scheme.
Farmers are now entitled to avail of €12 per hay and silage, and €8 for straw, though the minimum distance required to be eligible is set at 100 kms, as reported by us here.
The news was met with mixed reviews, with many quarters welcoming the subsidies, but voicing their concern of the 100km rule. The President of the ICMSA, Pat McCormack, called the introduction of the subsidy as a “timely” one, but said the T&C’s involved, make the process less than straightforward.
He continued by noting that the 100km distance announced looked arbitrary, before he called on the minister to revisit and adjust the distance downwards.
The transport subsidy was also welcomed by the ICSA. President Patrick Kent noted that the announcement came as a relief to farmers, but called for the minimising of red tape involved in the process.
“(The) announcement by Minister Creed will certainly be a relief for those with rapidly dwindling fodder supplies. We await clarification on the detail but the priority must be for money to flow in to the scheme as soon as possible. Red tape must be minimised,” said. ICSA president Patrick Kent.
Seamus Sherlock, rural development chair, said the situation is worst in the west and border counties. He called for its introduction as quickly as possible.
“The situation is particularly bad in many western and border counties and we need it in place quickly. We want to see co-ops and the Department work closely so that there are no more delays.”, he said.
This view was backed by Cavan chairman, Hugh Farrell.
“Farmers in the border counties have been eagerly anticipating this announcement. ICSA will continue to assist in sourcing supplies and getting it to where it’s needed most.”, he said.
The 100km rule was also questioned by ICSA Sligo chairman, Gabriel Gilmartin, who called for common sense to be adopted when cementing details of the subsidy.
“There will have to be flexibility on the 100km rule to avail of funds. A common sense approach will have to be adopted.” he said.
He continued by voicing his concern that no meal vouchers was included as part of the scheme.
“I am disappointed that meal vouchers have not been included in the scheme, which would have been a better value solution than transporting fodder across the country.”, he concluded.