IFA Rural Development Committee Chairman Joe Brady has said there are sufficient flexibilities to protect areas currently designated as ANC in the EU wide review, if they are used to maximum effect.
He said that following a meeting in Paris between IFA and the French organisation the FNSEA this week, it is clear that the French are exhausting all the flexibilities to keep areas designated through the use of data that reflects the limitation of soil which may not necessarily be shown through the biophysical criteria.
So far in France, an indicative map has been issued showing areas that meet the biophysical criteria as well as areas that have lower than 80% of natural standard output and stocking rates of less than 1.4lu/ha. Also, areas where there is high level of permanent grassland are being included as these reflect the lower income drystock sectors.
Joe Brady said it was important that before maps are produced in Ireland, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed uses all flexibilities that are available, as the straight use of biophysical criteria along with fine-tuning will discriminate against certain areas.
In relation to payment rates, both IFA and the FNSEA agreed that the payment rates must reflect the natural handicap. Frontloading at 25/ha is being used in France while IFA proposes a frontload on the first 20/ha in a new revised payment structure across all areas.
It was agreed by both organisations to work together at EU level to ensure that the EU Commission accepts flexibilities to maintain areas and ensure ANC criteria to make a significant contribution to farm income.
IFA ANC Meetings – Munster and Leinster
IFA is holding two further meetings as part of its ANC campaign in Munster and South Leinster. IFA President Joe Healy will address the meeting and MEPs from the region as well as TDs from the locality have been invited.
- Corrin Mart, Fermoy, Co. Cork Friday, February 24th at 8.30pm
- The Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow Friday, March 3rd, 8pm