‘Advanced BPS and ANC payments will be made as soon as permissible’

A derogation to make 70% advance payments for direct payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been sought by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The department submitted an application to the European Commission seeking a derogation to make advance payments of up to 70% for direct payments and of up to 85% for support granted under rural development.

“We will be making payment as soon as permissible,” the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, told delegates at this week’s meeting of the Inter-Agency Fodder Committee.

“We have been in contact with the commission already and I suspect that approval for the higher rate of advance payments in ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) and BPS (Basic Payment Scheme) will be forthcoming,” he said.

However, the minister noted that the drought is a pan-European issue and that the support that was availed of from the UK earlier this year might not be available.

“At last Monday’s council meeting in Brussels, there was a discussion around the table on the drought across Europe.

Last year, we got some assistance in imports from the UK, but they’re having the same problem across Europe.

“The commission’s response was that this was an issue that could be dealt with through the Crisis Reserve. It just raises the question that the resolution to this might not be as readily available in the UK as it was previously and that’s why we need to double our indigenous efforts on all fronts.

“The department won’t be found wanting in terms of the practical things that can be done; but our message to farmers – and it’s really really important – is that everybody has a role to play.”