IFA is to step up its campaign for a meaningful AEOS 3 with a national lobbying campaign of Government TDs over this weekend.
IFA President John Bryan said no other sector has taken the severe cutbacks that agriculture has had to face over the past number of years, and cuts to vital schemes have had a devastating effect on low-income farmers and the rural economy.
John Bryan said the loss of REPS 3 to low-income farmers has meant that many farmers are left without an Agri-Environment scheme for the first time in 15 years. “It is now up to the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to come forward with a meaningful scheme to help to replace the loss associated with REPS 3 contracts which ended last year.”
IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy said the Agri-Environment schemes make up a significant part of farm income, and Minister Coveney’s suggestions of a limited scheme will not be acceptable. “The Minister must use the savings from REPS 3 as well as future savings from the end of REPS 4 contracts to put in place a scheme which will impact positively on farm income.”
The Rural Development Chairman said, “The cutbacks to Disadvantaged Areas and REPS have wiped out over €100m annually in direct income supports to the most vulnerable farmers. It is up to Minister Coveney too show low-income famers that he has not turned his back on them.”