IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has welcomed the increase in ANC payments (formerly Disadvantaged Areas payment), for farmers who farm all or part of their land on offshore islands in the new CAP Rural Development Plan to apply from 2015.
Flor McCarthy said nearly 1,000 farmers have land claimed under CAP schemes on islands, with nearly 400 of them living and farming on islands.
The increase in payment in 2015 will see payments for those living and farming on islands applying at a rate of €250/ha up to a maximum of 34ha. This compares to the current Disadvantaged Areas mountain rate of €109.71/ha for 10ha and €95.99 for the remaining 24ha. The maximum payment will increase from €3,400 to €8,500.
In the case of farmers who live on the mainland but farm part of their holding on an island, Flor McCarthy said the increase in payment will be €75/ha to give an overall maximum payment of €5,950 on 34ha.
IFA’s Island Chairman, Jackie Sullivan from Bear Island in West Cork said the increased payments are very welcome at a time when island communities are under severe threat. He said he would like to see this principle of an increase in payments to apply to other farm schemes as maintaining island farming is very costly. An IFA survey carried out earlier this year on IFA’s six island branches in West Cork, Galway, Mayo and Donegal showed island farmers face costs up to 40% higher compared to the mainland.