IFA Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins said the exceptional one-off lump sum announced by the EU Commission last week is effectively “robbing Peter to pay Paul”, as the proposal only moves an inadequate amount of Pillar II money from 2024/25 to 2023.
He said it doesn’t propose any new additional funding from the EU, which is badly needed.
“Farmers have been told there is over €15m from the EU Crisis Reserve Fund and it can be topped up with national exchequer funding by up to 200%, which would bring it close to €50m. There’s no indication if this co-financing will happen or what kind of supports are potentially going to be made available from the co-financed funds,” he said.
The extraordinary rise in input costs is making production unsustainable. Already low margins for most farmers are being further eroded as a consequence of these increased input prices.
Michael Biggins said there are three actions the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue can address:
- Provide the allowed rate of 200% national co-financing to top up the Crisis Reserve
- Urgently make arrangements to pay the Crisis Reserve funding in the form of a one-off lump sum in direct support to cattle and sheep farmers.
- Commit additional national exchequer funding to the Pillar II budgets for 2024/25 to fund any potential deficit in those years which could arise from this exceptional measure.
Michael Biggins said if food security is to be guaranteed, then farmers need adequate support from the Commission to ensure they survive this crisis. The EU should come forward with a significant package for farm families.