Farm Ireland

Monday 19 February 2018

Concerns increase in payments under ANC scheme might be stalled

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has been called on to confirm his commitment to increase funding for the ANC scheme to €230m in 2018.

It comes as Ireland has supported moves by Austria to delay the implementation of new rules which will set to which farmers are entitled to payment under the Areas of Natural Constraint scheme.

The scheme which replaced the Disadvantaged Area Payment was due to changed by 2018.

However, as part of the ongoing discussion on amendments to regulations at EU level, Austria raised the possibility of extending the deadline on an optional basis.

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed said this week that Ireland supported this proposal, with Latvia, Slovenia, Poland, Luxembourg, France, Germany and Slovakia.

Read more: Ireland supports delay in implementation of new 'disadvantaged area' criteria

He said refinements of the regulations have yet to be finalised, but he remains hopeful there will be an extension of the timeline.

“Whether it will be a one or two-year extension is not clear at this stage.

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“I envisage there will be an appeals system which will involve consultation with and the provision of information for stakeholders, including farm organisations,” he said.

IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady has said “The decision by Minister Creed to support a deferral of the ANC review, due to take place this year for implementation next year, must not deflect from the Programme for Government commitment that the funding for the scheme will increase by €25m in 2018

“As far as IFA is concerned, there is no relationship between the review and the provision of the additional funding,” Joe Brady said. 

He said, “There is a commitment to increase funding by €25m in 2018, but the total funding for the ANC scheme should increase to the level it was before cuts, €250m.”

Brady said a IFA nationwide ANC campaign has been underway for the past the past four months, focussing on protecting areas, restoring funding by €50m and increasing the payments rates to support farm income.

"The clear message from the thousands of farmers at the IFA meetings is that the Government must restore funding to pre-2009 levels and payments rates must increase to reflect the natural handicap," he said.

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