The Irish Government needs to stop kicking the ‘forgotten farmer’ issue down the road, Kenneth O’Brien, spokesperson for the Forgotten Farmer Group has said.
There are options here to look after these farmers, he said. There are 3,900 farmers known as forgotten farmers.
“The Forgotten Farmer Group is a group of farmers under the age of 40, that are farming longer than five years, who got no Installation Aid and have no access to the National Reserve.
“They have little or no entitlements and we feel that they’ve been discriminated against by the bigger farming organisations.”
It’s in the Programme for Government but the Minister for Agriculture hasn’t done anything for them. It’s not a problem in Europe, it’s at national Government level that it’s a problem.
“They need to stop kicking this down the road. There are options here to look after these farmers.”
O’Brien welcomed the €5m in funding announced for the National Reserve this week by Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, and said that it was a step in the right direction.
“But it’s not enough. Farm organisations have the option to push for a linear cut to Basic Payments for these forgotten farmers.
“A category needs to be created for the forgotten farmers and a linear cut to the CAP needs to be created from the CAP to fund it. €12m is needed to fund it – that’s 1% of Ireland’s €1.2 billion.”
O’Brien said that if CAP monies were capped at €100,000 this would also create some money towards a fund.
“We want a change to the definition of an active farmer under the Scottish Derogation and we want forgotten farmers recognised as having a specific disadvantage.”