The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association is calling for unspent Rural Development Money to be paid out as in a second Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Payment to farmers affected by the weather.
INHFA CAP Chair Colm O Donnell outlined how there could be an under-spend in excess of €100 million in the annual Rural Development budget of €580million. O Donnell stated “how this money could go some way towards alleviating the hardship many farmers are experiencing due to ongoing weather difficulties”
“The most effective and easiest way to target this money is through a second ANC Payment” stated O Donnell who added that “most of the farmers affected by the poor weather are in the ANC areas and as it’s not a new scheme permission from Brussels to redirect existing unspent monies should be easily got”
Presently the ANC budget is €195million and any unspent money paid to these farmers could O Donnell stated “be paid on a pro rata basis and would provide a significant financial boost in helping farmers pay for extra costs such as meal and fodder while also covering losses incurred through harvesting and poorer livestock sales”
The money we are talking about here stated O Donnell “is not new money as it is presently included in the Rural Development Budget but remains unspent” The key he added “is to get it to the farmers who are in real difficulty as fast as possible”
O Donnell concluded by calling on Minister Creed to deliver on this as it is within his remit and requested that all farmer representative groups and politicians back the proposal.