The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association are calling on the Taoiseach to honour the commitment he made in February 2018 to provide additional funding in order to protect the CAP budget. At the time An Taoiseach committed to increasing Ireland’s contribution in line with an increase in contributions from all other member states. If implemented this would have seen an increase in member state contributions from the current rate of 1.1% of Gross National Income (GNI) up to 1.3% of GNI. This increase the organisation estimates would for Ireland amount to €550m each year.
In addressing this National President Colm O’Donnell stated “how this proposal is unlikely to now happen in light of a major reluctance from some EU countries. But this commitment was made which would indicate that the Government were willing to provide substantial funding towards CAP and as we move towards a new CAP Programme it is vital that this promised funding is not forgotten.”
The new CAP Programme as currently proposed will stated O’Donnell “see cuts of almost 4% to Pillar 1 and over 15% to the Rural Development Programme (RDP) through Pillar 2.” The cuts to the RDP which is co-funded by the EU and Government will he added “see an overall cut for the duration of the next CAP Programme (2021 to 27) of €700m. If applied this will have a major impact on the ANC, TAMS and any new Agri-environmental scheme which are all schemes that many smaller farmers are dependent on.
With both our suckler and sheep sectors in crisis the impact of cuts such as this would stated O’Donnell “wipe out farming in many areas and create a knock-on effect in these communities.” Fortunately he continued “our Government have the option to fund the RDP at a much higher rate than it currently does (52/48) and thankfully our Taoiseach has promised the funding to do so.”
By just using €350m per year of the €550m promised we could he added “increase the ANC budget by another €50m and deliver a payment to farmers of up to €5,000. We could double the payment rates on the sheep welfare scheme and deliver a suckler cow payment of €200 per cow.”
In addition to this we could he stated “increase the TAMS budget and deliver a payment of up to €10,000 on a new Agri-environmental scheme.
He concluded by emphasising how this additional funding can benefit our farmers, their communities and the state and should be seen in this context.