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Friday 22 September 2017

Number of farmers using donkeys to qualify for disadvantage payments jumps

Donkeys pictured in Co Leitrim. Photo: Frank McGrath.
Donkeys pictured in Co Leitrim. Photo: Frank McGrath.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

New figures show an increase in the number of farmers using donkeys to qualify for payments under the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme.

The Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme forms part of the 2014 to 2020 Rural Development Programme, and has replaced the previous Disadvantaged Areas and Less Favoured Areas Schemes.

The figures obtained by Fianna Fail’s Eamon O Cuiv shows that 836 farmers used some 2,878 donkeys to claim payment under the scheme.

The number farmers who use donkeys as part of their stock in order to qualify for the payments has increased in the last five years with just 589 farmers using donkeys in 2012.

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said that donkeys continue to be considered for inclusion in the stocking density as per the terms and conditions of the scheme

Eligibility requirements under the new ANC scheme have remained largely the same as under the previous schemes, with some minor adjustments.

The requirement to maintain a minimum stocking density of 0.15 livestock units per forage hectares, calculated over the 12 months of the scheme year has been maintained.

Payments under the ANC scheme are an important support for farmers across the country in addressing cash flow issues and contributing to the continued growth and development of the agri-food sector.

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The scheme was originally introduced in 1975 in recognition of the fact that farmers in particular areas were faced with challenges relating to lower productivity and higher production costs than farmers in other areas where levels of disadvantage were not as pronounced.

More than 95,000 farmers who receive the payment annually. In 2016, payments under the scheme began in mid-September and to date over €201m has been paid to over 94,000 farmers.


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