€50m EU beef fund: Key details revealed of draft conditions

IFA President Joe Healy. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
IFA President Joe Healy. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Draft details of the €50m EU beef fund have been revealed from the European Commission, which state that the measures taken by Ireland will be aimed at reducing production as part of the scheme.

Under the draft details it says EU aid of €50,000 will be available to Ireland to provide exceptional adjustment aid to farmers in the beef and veal sector subject to conditions.

These, conditions, the document states will be available through measures that are aimed at reducing production or restructuring the beef and veal sector, along with at least one of three others conditions set out.

These other conditions include the implementation of quality schemes in the beef and veal sector or projects aiming at promoting quality and value added; boosting market diversification; and protection and improving the farmers' environmental, climate and economic sustainability.

IFA President called on the Minister for Agriculture to reject all conditionality in the draft regulation that does not relate to the actual income losses experienced by beef and suckler farmers.

He said the draft regulation reflects the preliminary views of the Commission services, it has been sent to Member States for comment and it is not yet the official position of the Commission.

“This Brexit beef fund is for retrospective beef price losses that farmers have already incurred. Restructuring is a totally separate matter; it was not mentioned by Commissioner Hogan when the scheme was announced and was not part of the IFA submission on Brexit losses. This aid must not be made conditional on restructuring.”

He also said that every cent of this fund must go directly to farmers and under no circumstances can any of it be diverted elsewhere.

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"It would be wrong if the Commission and the Minister were now to embark on a convoluted process to take the good out the scheme by tying it up in knots”.

The draft document also states that Ireland must ensure that if farmers in the beef and veal sector are not the direct beneficiaries of the payment of the Union aid, the economic benefit of the aid is passed on to them.

It also says Ireland must notify the Commission by July 31 of its proposed measures and the criteria that will be used for granting aid.

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