IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has called on the Government to immediately make commitments to adequately fund the CAP Pillar 2 Rural Development Plan over the next seven years up to 2020.
Speaking at the Rural Development Programme Stakeholder Consultation organised by the Department of Agriculture in Portlaoise today, Flor McCarthy said it is vitally important that the Government showed a strong commitment to Pillar 2 measures which are vital to support farm incomes 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 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 the Government and it is up to Minister Coveney to ensure that this level of funding is matched 50:50 with national co-financing as well as national top-ups over the next 7 years.”
At the Stakeholder Consultation, Flor McCarthy pointed out that there is an opportunity to bring about effective structural reform in agriculture through supports for a Young Farmer Installation Aid and incentives for the early transfer of farms. In addition, farm investment will be vital over the coming years, particularly with the abolition of milk quotas and the ongoing requirement for environmental investments across all sectors.
The Rural Development Chairman said it was important that the Rural Development Plan is submitted to Brussels by year-end so that the measures which support farm income and investment are implemented at an early stage in 2014.