Early Introduction of Farm Schemes Vital In New Rural Development Programme

IFA President Eddie Downey has said the consultation process for the Rural Development Programme should get underway as soon as possible to avoid any delay in getting schemes up and running. He said the early introduction of all schemes should be the priority for the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

 

He said IFA will engage closely with the Department of Agriculture in the coming weeks to ensure that the CAP implementation is targeted at active, productive farmers.

In relation to the various schemes, Eddie Downey said that the maximum payment of €5,000 under the new GLAS agri environment scheme must be revisited. “Agri-environment schemes are a vital support to farmers in designated areas, commonages and marginal land areas and higher payments will be required.”

 

Mr Downey said the key objective of the new suckler scheme must be to improve farm income and maintain our national suckler cow herd. He said, “On sheep, we need a more targeted approach to protect the national flock and hill sheep farming in vulnerable areas.  We will also be looking at simplification of the inspection system, reducing bureaucracy and dealing with greening issues of concern.”

The IFA President said the allocation of €290m for on-farm investment is welcome and it is important that this scheme is available to all sectors of farming later in the year.  “This is necessary as the current TAMS scheme is quite limited. Many farmers are anxious to carry out investment across all sectors in order to reach the targets set out in Food Harvest 2020.”

 

In relation to the Areas of Natural Handicap (formerly Disadvantaged Areas) IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy said it is vital that this important income support scheme is fully maintained for the 95,000 farmers who benefit.  The review of the ANCs indicated in the Minister’s statement must ensure that all areas are fully protected in the lifetime of the Rural Development Plan.

 

Flor McCarthy said there must be a full draw-down of the EU and national funding that has been allocated. It is also vitally important that the programme is fully implemented, unlike the last Rural Development Programme, which suffered from Government cutbacks to vital schemes which seriously impacted on farm income.

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