FARMING: INHFA warns against reduction of Eco-scheme budget

The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has cautioned against the dangers of reducing the Eco-scheme budget in order to accommodate farmers on high historic payments.

Speaking after a meeting with Minister and Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue, National President Vincent Roddy warned against the danger of reducing this budget, saying it ‘would be negatively perceived at EU level and undermine future CAP budgets.”

Currently the Eco-scheme budget is set at 25% which will deliver a payment to all farmers of €63/ha on completion of two measures.

Mr Roddy said while there have been suggestions that this should be reduced, the reality “is that, if this were to happen, farmers would still be expected to deliver on the two measures but would be paid less for carrying them out.”

With a major change in emphasis in the upcoming CAP towards delivering on a green agenda, Mr Roddy stressed the need for farmers to be paid enough.

“While many will maintain that €63/ha is not enough it clearly doesn’t make sense to reduce the budget and pay even less” he added

The INHFA President stressed the need for the Minister to hold firm on the Eco-scheme budget adding “that future CAP Budgets could well depend on this decision.”