The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has called on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to act quickly and decisively in finding further funds for suckler and sheep farmers during the COVID-19 crisis.
They have told Minister Creed to “leave no stone unturned to find money for our suckler and sheep farmers amid the COVID-19 crisis”.
Rural development programme
Colm O’Donnell, president of the INHFA, stated: “our Minister and his staff must find every available euro in the whole of the RDP (Rural Developments Programme), including unspent allocations on existing schemes, together with amounts of money reserved for ongoing calls for applications not yet finalised by extending their scope and re-allocating funds between measures.”
“All of these options now have been given the green light by Commissioner Wojciechowski, who has pledged the services of the EU Commission to grant swift approval of any RDP amendments proposed by the member states in response to the coronavirus crisis.”
The farming representative group have proposed that an additional €100 million be allocated to the 2020 Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme.
O’Donnell stressed, “This particular Pillar 2 scheme is designed to compensate farmers for costs incurred, income foregone, and extra transaction costs associated with farming systems such as sucklers and sheep.”
“With the flexibilities now offered by the EU Commission, this additional funding could be paid out as an advance ANC payment to help keep cash strapped primary producers’ heads over water for the next couple of months.”
The farm leader Minister Creed to use the flexibilities at his disposal in order to get supports to the suckler and sheep farmers of Ireland as “quickly as possible”.