This week’s Irish farmers’ Association (IFA) National Rural Development Committee meeting saw the Rural Development Programme (RDP) as one of the key topics of discussion.

“Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed must deliver a well financed and ambitious RDP in the forthcoming CAP negotiations,” a spokesperson explained.

Rural Development Committee chairman Joe Brady highlighted it is vital that the funding available in the current RDP is fully utilised.

He believes that Minister Creed’s hand will be strengthened in CAP budget discussions at EU level if the full RDP allocation is dispersed.

According to the IFA, the full RDP allocation is €4 billion, which includes €2.1 billion of EU funds.

He added: “Minister Creed appears to be in denial that not all funding will be used. The IFA has identified an under-spend across a number of schemes, in particular within TAMS and, to a lesser degree, in Knowledge Transfer, GLAS, the Sheep Welfare Scheme and other measures.”

The IFA is proposing that the RDP for CAP post-2020 increases by 25% to €5 billion over the period from 2020 to 2027.

This would cover IFA proposals for:
  • An increased annual allocation of €300 million for Areas of Natural Constraint (ANCs);
  • a new agri-environment scheme with a payment of up to €10,000 for farmers, involving a whole-farm payment and higher payments for those with designated Natura land;
  • measures to help young farmers;
  • a strong on-farm investment scheme.