Early Funding Decision 'Vital' For Low Incomes Farmers07 January 2014
IRELAND - A clear decision must be made soon on Rural Development Funding, an Irish Farmers Association speaker has stressed.
IFA Rural Development Chairman, Flor McCarthy said particular importance rests on the government regarding disadvantaged areas and low income sectors.
Flor McCarthy said that farmers in many parts of the country are very dependent on CAP Pillar II Rural Development supports such as Environmental and Disadvantaged Areas schemes.
Recent cutbacks have had a severe impact on farmers and the rural economy and the ball is now firmly in the hands of the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney to ensure that Rural Development schemes continue to play a vital role over the next 7 years.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman has urged the Government to co-finance at a rate of 50:50 with national top-ups. This will ensure that Rural Development schemes support the rural economy and jobs while at the same time supporting farm income whose output is limited by the quality of the land and where farmers can provide environmental public goods.
Flor McCarthy said that Ireland has secured annual EU funding of €313m to give a total EU budget of €2.2bn. “The Government must at least match this funding as it is clear that the spin-off to the rural economy is very significant given that practically all of the funding is spent in the local economy. This is particularly relevant at this time as the economic downturn has hit rural areas very badly and are being left behind in the recovery” he said.
Flor McCarthy said that the next couple of weeks are vital as a cabinet decision on this vital issue is due to be made. The 7 year Rural Development Programme budget must illustrate a commitment to rural Ireland with strong Government support.
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