IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady said that the Cork EU Rural Development Conference is an opportunity for the EU Commission to reverse cuts to the Rural Development Programme, which were imposed to the EU Budget in the period 2014-2020.
Speaking at the Rural Development Conference in Cork, Joe Brady said that the current CAP, including the Rural Development Budget, were agreed at the height of the Europe-wide recession and farmers and rural areas felt the brunt of austerity with the reduced Budget which has had an impact on the various Programmes that support rural areas.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman said the opportunity must now be seized on by the EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan to reverse these cuts and to put in place support measures which address the low-income crisis on farms as well as the economic decline of many rural areas. While the economy is recovering and jobs are being created, unfortunately many rural areas are being left behind.
Joe Brady said that Rural Development schemes such as the ANCs, GLAS, TAMS, Beef Data & Genomics and Knowledge Transfer are a key element of supports to farmers. In addition, the LEADER Programme, whose funding has also suffered, is an important catalyst for economic regeneration outside of the farm gate. All of these measures must be enhanced in future Rural Development Programmes.