Extra ANC funds should target upland regions say hill farmers
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.
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.