Minister to ask Irish farmers to grow grain due to wartime supply issues

Ireland a net importer of grain with much coming from Ukraine, Russia – McConalogue

The Minister for Agriculture has confirmed he will ask farmers to grow more grain due to potential supply shortages that could happen later this year due to the war in Ukraine.

Charlie McConalogue said Ireland is a net importer of grain and Russia and Ukraine make up 30 per cent of global exports. He said supply could be disrupted in the weeks and months ahead.

Mr McConalogue told RTÉ’s This Week programme that his department had assembled a rapid response team and would be meeting farmer organisations on Tuesday.

He said it was the time of year where farmers were going into the planting season and he would work with farm organisations on how to address the challenge.

In a statement the Irish Farmers’ Association said there had been no discussion with farmers regarding media reports that they may be required to grow crops in 2022.

“We are in very challenging times and farmers will certainly play our part in any national or European effort,” he said. “However, it is far from certain that asking all farmers to plant crops is the best use of the resources that are likely to be available to us.

“The biggest issue facing farmers is the rocketing cost and availability of inputs. This is where the Government needs to focus their efforts, as well as looking at some of their own regulations,” he said.

“It would be very unwise of the Government to make any decisions on this before engaging fully with farmers. Irish farming is very different than it was in the 1940s. What was done then may not be the solution today.”