Fulfil promise on ANC funding, Government told

A view of the beautiful bog landscape at Derrigimlagh
A view of the beautiful bog landscape at Derrigimlagh
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Farmers have called for the promises laid out in the Programme for Government to increase the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) funding by €25m to be fulfilled in the Budget.

The INHFA said this would increase the overall spend from €195m to €220m in the 2018 ANC scheme.

INHFA president Colm O'Donnell said the monies must be targeted towards the lands with the highest level of natural constraint to address the current imbalance in the rates of payment.

After meeting with Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, the ICSA said farmers were among the first to suffer austerity cuts.

The ICSA's Seamus Sherlock said the disadvantaged area payment was seen as an "easy target" in 2008 when expenditure was cut from €257m to €220m. A second cut followed, bringing it down to €195m.

"Those impacted were the most vulnerable in the farming community and it is high time to begin the process of reversing these cuts in full," he said.

The IFA has also pressed Mr Creed to restore funding cuts to the ANC.

IFA president Joe Healy said the funding to those working in marginal areas in poor land must be increased.

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"It is important in vulnerable areas given the difficulty along the west coast from the recent weather," he said.

In addition, Mr Healy said that Government-supported low-cost loans for working capital and on-farm investment were vital for all farming sectors.

"They seemed to be keen to further examine the low-cost money after the take-up last year," said Mr Healy after meeting Mr Creed.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed it was something that was under consideration for Budget 2018. "We do appreciate the real value of access to finance for farmers and access to low-cost loans in particular so it's absolutely something we're looking at," he said.

The IFA has also called for an additional €50-a -head payment for suckler cows to add on to the Beef Data and Genomics Programme that is already underway.

Indo Farming

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