The credit arrangements referred to in the question are of course a matter between the supplier and the processor. However, I am delighted that the Dairy Co-ops have introduced a number of extremely helpful initiatives such as interest free credit for fertilizer purchased during the month of May and reduced prices in respect of feed supplies of meal.
I also pay tribute to the farmers and farm organisations that have gone to such great efforts to help their fellow farmers in need of fodder. Since the scheme was announced over 900 loads of fodder have been received and ordered. I am satisfied that this volume of imports is making a real difference on farms and assisting farmers through the shortage. The extension of the scheme will build on this and ensure that further supplies are imported with the benefit of the transport subsidy.
Apart from this initiative on the fodder transport scheme, I have also addressed the issue of credit facilities with the banks and the co-ops. The banks have been requested to take a flexible approach towards extending credit to farmer customers at this difficult time. The co-ops responded already with the introduction of interest free credit to farmers for the purchase of fertiliser in the month of May which I referred to above and which will be a key component in addressing this year’s fodder problem.