IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney’s foot-dragging on the Rural Development 2014-2020 plan is unacceptable and he called for the early implementation of all measures without further delay.
Flor McCarthy said that with REPS 4 finishing for thousands of farmers at the end of the year, combined with those who have already finished at the end of 2013, this will leave a serious income gap for farmers who depend greatly on agri-environment payments to support their low income.
The Rural Development Chairman said that the early implementation of the GLAS scheme was now a priority and IFA is insisting that the contract start date in 2015 allows for a significant payment to be made later next year. If the Minister fails to address this issue, it will lead to a serious income crisis on many farms next year.
Flor McCarthy also said that other key measures are anxiously awaited under the RDP, such as TAMS II Farm Investment Scheme, the Knowledge Transfer Measures and other elements of Rural Development support which are so vital for the low-income sector.
The Rural Development Plan is worth over €4bn, with an EU contribution of €2.1bn. “This is a vital support to thousands of farmers throughout the country and is complimentary to the Pillar I payments. The early implementation would be a positive signal to farmers given the difficulty that various sectors have had this year.”