Concerns have been raised by Fianna Fail’s Agriculture Spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue, for farm incomes hit by adverse weather conditions.
The government’s decision not to include any provision in Ireland’s 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme (RDP) to compensate farmers from losses caused by severe weather left McConlogue shocked.
Under EU rules, member states can choose to provide funding for the restoration of agricultural land and production damaged by natural disasters and adverse climatic events, the TD from Co. Donegal explained.
However, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, indicated that following detailed analysis and public consultation, it was concluded that because of its geographic position Ireland is not generally prone to suffering from natural disasters.
Pre-existing, nationally-funded measures are considered to be sufficient to address any possibilities, he added.
“At a time when farm incomes are on the floor, I find it difficult to understand the minister’s decision not to include the option of a compensation package for farmers who have seen their farms battered by severe wet weather and flooding.
These conditions have wreaked havoc on the tillage and suckler farm sectors, in particular over the past number of years.
“The recent deluge of heavy rains have brought farmers to tipping point once more. Livestock are being housed indoors in many parts of the country, which will put pressure on fodder stocks.
“Meanwhile, tillage farmers are desperately hoping that dry weather will take hold so their harvest will not be destroyed for a second year in a row.
“Considering the huge underspend in RDP schemes, as well as the fact that many other schemes are running behind target, the money is there to fund a permanent scheme to safeguard farmers from losses incurred as a result of adverse weather events,” Deputy McConalogue said.
The Fianna Fail TD called on the government to include this option in the next RDP amendment submitted to Brussels.