The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has called for meaningful targeting of support towards the land areas deemed to be scientifically constrained as part of the Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme (ANC) review.
The President of the INHFA Colm O’Donnell has stated “that the E.U. review is based on eight scientific biophysical criteria with an additional fine tuning exercise to ensure that the level of support is targeted to the areas with the highest level of natural constraint.”
As part of the ANC awareness campaign in 2017 the INHFA highlighted the current disparity in the methodology used by the Department of Agriculture in calculating the level of support for each of the payment bands within the scheme. The INHFA have welcomed the action taken by Minister Creed to begin to address the imbalance when he targeted the additional 25 million in the 2018 scheme towards the most constrained areas.
The farm leader went on to say that “the INHFA position calls for the retention of the MSG (mountain grazing area) as a category in the review, with further targeting, along with the retention of the two lowland land types of (more severely and less severely handicapped).
In addition, I am calling on the Minister to look at supporting areas with specific permanent constraints in areas adversely affected by the Nature Directives before completion of the ANC review. A certain level of flexibility is available to the Minister to make such a provision which would be seen as an acknowledgement by Government and the State of the additional constraints experienced by farmers with designated land.”