Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue is being urged to ‘hold firm’ on payment details outlined in the Common Agricultural Policy Strategic Plan (CSP) for eco-schemes.

The Irish Nature and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA) has said that over 60% of farmers stand to gain from an eco-scheme that is paid on a flat rate basis.

INHFA president, Vincent Roddy, stated that “despite suggestions made through meetings over the last week that the eco-scheme will cost farmers money, 73,000 or 60% of farmers will gain”.

“On this basis it is vital that farmers understand the motive behind the outrage expressed at these meetings, which is to protect excessively high payments by undermining current proposals on the eco-scheme and the frontloaded payment option under the CRIS [Complementary Income Support for Sustainability],” Roddy added.

INHFA president, Vincent Roddy

Equal payments in eco-schemes

The INHFA representative said that it is essential that all farmers receive an equal and appropriate payment per hectare for the measures they are expected to undertake in the eco-scheme.

“To pay farmers at different rates or a lower payment than is currently suggested, would undermine future demands for a fair payment in recognition of income lost and the public good delivered in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss,” Roddy said.

The INHFA leader stressed the need for farmers to look carefully at what is being demanded at some of these meetings.

“This CAP will see a vital redistribution of funds through convergence, CRISS and the eco-scheme, that will support and help ensure the viability of many smaller holdings,” he continued.

Roddy has urged small holders to ‘back themselves’ on this and demand that the minister prioritises their needs.

“This can be done through the proposed redistribution as outlined in this CAP plan,” he concluded.