The announcement of a lump sum scheme to address the inputs crisis will not provide any extra EU funding for farmers, according to the president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Tim Cullinan.

The IFA president said the EU Commission’s announcement yesterday (May 20), merely enables member states to divert funding from their existing Rural Development Plan (RDP) and does not provide any new funding.

According to Cullinan, farmers who are struggling with significant input price increases will not be satisfied with this diversion of funds. He said:

“If the commission is serious about supporting farmers, then it should come forward with a significant package for farm families.”

The statements come as the EU Commission yesterday proposed a “one-off lump sum” for farmers and agri-food businesses, which could be worth up to €15,000 per farmer or €100,000 per business.

The aim of the proposed paymentis to restore stability to global food security by addressing supply chain issues and offsetting the pressure farmers and businesses are under with rapidly rising input costs such as fuel, feed and fertiliser.

The planned lump sum would be funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), which funds Pillar II of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

However, following the commission’s announcement, farming organisations have called for clarity on the exact source of the funds. The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association said that it is “less clear on where this money is coming from”.

The ICSA’s rural development chairperson Tim Farrell, said that a meeting of the Rural Development Programme Monitoring Committing must urgently convene to discuss the funding.

He called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue to “come up with proposals that would utilise a mix of funds from the Rural Development Programme (RDP) and significant funds from the Department of Public Expenditure.”

Farrell also added that whatever supports are offered “must be delivered with minimum bureaucracy”.