Government Decision on Rural Development Funding Recognises Importance and Potential of Farming and Food Sector

IFA President Eddie Downey said the Government announcement this evening on their commitment to national co-financing for the next CAP Rural Development Programme is welcome and will deliver strong support for vital farm schemes for the next seven years, which underpin farm incomes particularly in Disadvantaged Areas and in the low-income sectors of farming.

Eddie Downey said the seven-year investment, along with the CAP Pillar I Single Farm Payment, will allow agriculture to deliver jobs and export growth as part of the economic recovery and will help to meet the targets in Food Harvest 2020. On an annual basis, EU funding for the Single Farm Payment amounts to €1.2bn, and €313m for the Rural Development Programme. In addition, national funding will amount to about €270m per annum, which allows for a full drawdown of maximum funding.

The Rural Development Programme includes an agri-environment scheme which provides for a maximum payment of €5,000 for up to 50,000 farmers; a Disadvantaged Areas Scheme amounting to €195m; farm investment across all sectors; a suckler genomic scheme of €80 per cow worth €52m pa the Sheep Grassland payment of €13m subsumed into the Single Farm Payment of sheep farmers; and support for island farming.

He said, “IFA’s campaign during CAP Reform has been to maintain a strong Pillar I and Pillar II for Irish agriculture. Today’s announcement by the Government recognises the importance of the sector and the fact that direct payments are a key element of farm income, which supports output of over €20bn across the country”.

Eddie Downey said the proposals on how the Rural Development Plan will be implemented should be progressed without delay to allow the measures to be agreed with Brussels, and to get the schemes up and running.

The IFA will now analyse of the CAP implementation and identify the issues to be addressed to ensure the effective implementation of the new CAP so support is targeted at active, productive farmers through the Single Farm Payment and the Rural Development Programme. “As a priority, the Department of Agriculture must notify every farmer of the implications of the Pillar I reform, including the details of their Single Farm Payment entitlement for the next seven years.”

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