New push for increased funding for farmers on marginal land
The IFA has said that the areas currently designated as Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) must be fully protected in the forthcoming review of areas, and payments must be increased in this vital support scheme for low-income farmers on marginal land.
At the meeting, attended by MEPs and TDs from the Munster region, President Joe Healy said ANC payments represent a significant support for up to 95,000 farmers who farm in some of the most difficult conditions.
“This must be recognised by European and national politicians.
“Every effort must be made to protect the areas already designated and to restore overall funding to its pre-2009 level, when Budget cutbacks were made.
“There is already a Programme for Government commitment to increase the ANC allocation by €25m in 2018 and this must be improved upon to coincide with the review,” he said.
The IFA President said that the Government, in the negotiations with the EU Commission on the review, must put forward strong arguments which support this vital scheme and must use all political capital to ensure that all farmers continue to benefit.
IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady said that there are sufficient flexibilities in place in the Guidelines to Designate ANC Areas to protect areas already classified in the upcoming review.
At a recent meeting in Brussels, the EU Commission made clear that member states can make a case based on local conditions to ensure that areas retain their status and continue to qualify for payments.