IFA Rural Development Chairman, Flor McCarthy, has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, put his card on the table with regard to funding commitments for CAP Pillar 2 Rural Development Plan over the next 7 years up to 2020.
Mr McCarthy said it was vitally important that the Minister showed a strong commitment to Pillar 2 measures which are vitally important in support for farmers in Disadvantaged Areas and through Agri-Environmental schemes. These schemes are a key component of farm income, in a similar way to Pillar I payments, but Rural Development measures can be effectively targeted where land quality is limiting and where farmers can make a more significant contribution to environmental land management.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman said the recent outcome of the EU Budget MFF discussions ensured that Ireland got an annual EU allocation of €313m up to 2020. Commitments must now be made by Minister Coveney to ensure that this level of funding is matched 50/50 with national co-financing as well as national top-ups.
Mr McCarthy said that IFA will be seeking strong support in the next 7 year Rural Development Plan for the Disadvantaged Areas scheme, a meaningful Agri Environmental programme, on-farm investment aid focused on increased production and efficiency and young farmer installation support.
Concluding Mr McCarthy said that the Minister must show his commitment to the Rural Development Programme by negotiating a 7 year deal.<span> Assurances must be given to farmers that all schemes will remain in place for the duration of the programme as these schemes are vital to the wider Rural Economy.</span>