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Thursday 17 August 2017

Extra ANC funds should target upland regions say hill farmers

Colm O'Donnell, INHFA chairman at a previous protest outside Enda Kenny's constituency office in Castlebar, Co Mayo. Photo: Michael McLaughlin
Colm O'Donnell, INHFA chairman at a previous protest outside Enda Kenny's constituency office in Castlebar, Co Mayo. Photo: Michael McLaughlin
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

An additional €25m that has been earmarked for ANC payments in 2018 must be targeted at the country's uplands, the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers' Association (INHFA) has insisted.

The budget for ANC payments is scheduled to increase next year from €195m to €220m under the current Programme for Government.

However, the INHFA said these monies should be targeted at hill farmers who, they claimed, had suffered the most severe income cuts in recent years.

"It is critical that this money be put into the mountain-type land category to help redress the imbalance in the proportionality of the current payment structure and help maintain the family farm which is the backbone of the rural community," said Colm O'Donnell, chairman of the INHFA CAP committee.

Meanwhile, the INHFA has welcomed the time extension sought by the EU Council of Ministers to the review of the ANC scheme.

Mr O'Donnell said the extension should ensure a proper consultation process with all stakeholders when the new ANC maps are produced by the middle of the year.

'Unfairness'

This review of ANC designations was called for by the EU commission to address the alleged unfairness in the payments where entitlements did not always reflect the level of constraints experienced by farmers on the ground.


It had been expected that the review would be finalised by the end of this year, with a new payments regime in place by next year. This may now be delayed to 2019 or 2020.

The INHFA was in Brussels this week where they met with senior officials in charge of Pillar II payments.

The hill farmers grouping want the ANC review to correctly target payments to regions where the Bio Physical conditions place a real challenge for farmers to make a living.

The INHFA presented a scientific analysis to the Commission that argued the most disadvantaged land was not receiving equal treatment under the current payment model.

The association said Commission officials confirmed that farmers should have "a legitimate expectation going forward that the payments must be proportionate for each category within the scheme".

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