The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) are calling for an additional €100 million to be added to the 2020 ANC scheme to compensate our primary producers of sucklers, store cattle, sheep and lambs. Colm O’Donnell stated that “the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) Michael Creed must act swiftly and decisively to help cash flow on suckler cow and sheep farms throughout the country, who effectively have had their ability to carry out their farm businesses sterilised, by the restrictions imposed by Government, in Ireland’s battle with Covid-19.”

The INHFA leader explained that the European Commission has given flexibility to Member States to introduce schemes in Pillar 2 of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) for farmers affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.” The best and most efficient way to get money out quickly to primary producers is through the Pillar 2 scheme Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme (ANC),” stated O’Donnell. He continued by saying that “This scheme is paid to farmers for costs incurred, income foregone and extra transaction costs associated with production systems such as sucklers and sheep.”

The INHFA have formally written to the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Janusz Wojciechowski to clarify his recent statement regarding what supports could be put in place by member states.The farming Organisation have suggested using the ANC as the most effective and efficient way of looking after our primary producers of suckler beef and sheep meat. These farmers are the first link in maintaining food security.

Concluding, O’Donnell stated that ” the Minister has a duty of care to ensure that our primary producers get financial support as quickly as possible to help with cash flow. The minister must use all flexibilities available from the EU Commission to pay this money up front and protect the first vital link in our highly valued food supply chain .