INHFA calls for increase in ANC budget to be targeted towards Hill Type Land

The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association has welcomed the extension of time sought by the council of Ministers to the review of the ANC scheme. Colm O’Donnell Chair of their CAP Committee stated “how this should ensure a proper consultation process with all stakeholders when the new maps are produced by the middle of the year”. This review he added “was called for by the EU commission to address the unfairness in the ANC payments where it did not always reflect the level of constraints experienced by farmers on the ground”.

The INHFA was in Brussels this week where they met with senior officials in charge of Pillar 2 payments and highlighted the real need for the ANC review to correctly target payments where the Bio Physical conditions place a real challenge for farmers to make a living.

The INHFA presented a scientific analysis to the commission that clearly demonstrated how the most disadvantaged land was not receiving equal treatment under the current payment model. Indeed Josephine Loriz Hoffman who headed the EU delegation was adamant “that hill farmers should have a legitimate expectation going forward that the payments must be proportionate for each category within the scheme”. She also added that “while it was at the discretion of member states to set the various categories for payment it was vital that consideration was given to metrics such as standard output and similar measurements so that a fair payment structure for the farming constraints could be put in place”.

When you look at the current payment categories continued O’Donnell and compare them to non ANC lands using the CSO standard output data one can see the imbalance that exists and which increases the risk of land abandonment.

O’Donnell also pointed out “how in the program for Government Minister Creed had given a commitment of a further €25 million for the ANC budget, to be paid out in 2018. This money he concluded “needs to go into the Mountain Type Land category to help redress the imbalance in the proportionality of the current payment structure and help maintain the family farm which is the backbone of the rural community”.