Tillage income ‘crisis’ to be raised in the Dail
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture and TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue says he will continue to fight for a compensation package for tillage farmers, many of whom saw their crops destroyed in the bad weather last autumn.
The party will raise the issue during Private Members Business in the Dáil next Tuesday.
Farm organisations have estimated that tillage farmers losses in 2016 were as high as €80m with production hit in the region of 400,000t.
“Hundreds of tillage farmers in Donegal, and along the west and south coasts of the country saw their crops fail as a result of the severe weather last autumn,” McConalogue said.
He added that the torrential rain saw land waterlogged and tillage harvests ruined, resulting in lost revenue and income for farmers.
“These losses can be ill-afforded at a time when farmers are already battling against low grain prices, increased input costs and poor margins.
“Tillage farmers, who were at the pin of their collars, are now under severe financial pressure, and despite numerous calls from my party, as well as farming organisations, for an emergency aid scheme to help these hard pressed families.
“Despite this Minister Michael Creed has failed to budge on the issue, and farmers are sinking deeper and deeper into debt.
“I genuinely cannot understand the Minister’s opposition to a compensation package.
“Back in 2010, the then Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith introduced the Aid Scheme for Potato and Vegetable Crops Damaged by Frost – so the precedent exists.
McConalogue says the Department is already running an underspend of €86m for its 2016 expenditure budget.
“The refusal by the Government to provide ring-fenced funding for tillage farmers is baffling.
“I will be raising this issue again in the Dáil next week and making the case for a compensation package for these farmers.
“I hope Minister Creed will wake up to the seriousness of the situation and agree to provide much needed assistance to these vulnerable farm families”.
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