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Calls for €100m ANC package for suckler and sheep farmers

A farm organisation is calling an additional €100 million to be added to the 2020 ANC scheme to compensate primary producers of sucklers, store cattle, sheep and lambs. 

Colm O’Donnell, president of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA), said the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, must “act swiftly and decisively” to help cash flow on suckler cow and sheep farms throughout the country.

He said that these farmers effectively have had their ability to carry out their farm businesses “sterilised”, by the restrictions imposed by Government, in Ireland’s battle with Covid-19.”

Flexibility

The INHFA leader explained that the European Commission has given flexibility to member states to introduce schemes in Pillar 2 of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) for farmers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The best and most efficient way to get money out quickly to primary producers is through the Pillar 2 scheme Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme (ANC),” stated O’Donnell.

“This scheme is paid to farmers for costs incurred, income foregone, and extra transaction costs associated with production systems such as sucklers and sheep.”

‘First link’

The farm lobby group said it has formally written to the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Janusz Wojciechowski to clarify his recent statement regarding what supports could be put in place by member states.

The INHFA has suggested using the ANC as the “most effective and efficient way” of looking after primary producers of suckler-beef and sheep meat. “These farmers are the first link in maintaining food security.”

“The minister has a duty of care to ensure that our primary producers get financial support as quickly as possible to help with cash flow.”

“The minister must use all flexibilities available from the EU Commission to pay this money upfront and protect the first vital link in our highly valued food supply chain.” the farm leader concluded.

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