National rally targeting ANC ‘imbalance’ tonight

A national rally targeting the “imbalance” in the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Scheme, and to ensure the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) “will deliver for all farmers” is being held by the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA).

The rally is set to take place tonight (Friday, December 7) at 8:00pm in the Knockranny House Hotel, Westport, Co. Mayo, according to the organisation.

On CAP INHFA national president Colm O’Donnell outlined concerns the organisation has around new conditions farmers will be obliged to adhere to in order to get their Basic Payment or Basic Income Support Scheme (BISS) as it will be known as in the new CAP programme.

These conditions if implemented will have major implications for many farmers throughout Ireland that are farming on wetlands or peatlands, often referred to as carbon-rich soils, the president said.

O’Donnell said: “These CAP proposals could easily lead to a situation where intensive farmers on dryer soils would be allowed drive on and increase production while farmers on the hills and lowland farmers on wetter soils would be expected to protect the environment and take on the full burden of climate change through carbon sequestration measures.”

All of this, he added, would be “for the same or possibly less money than they are receiving now through all their CAP payments – with the added risk of losing these payments if they don’t meet the conditions set out”.

Regarding the recently-reviewed ANC, O’Donnell stressed the importance of ensuring how the payment bands needs to reflect the constraint, adding how this needed to be addressed.

He encouraged farmers to turn up on the night and send a message to the Minister for Agriculture and Brussels, on the need for “better supports and fairer conditions for those farmers on the most environmentally-sensitive land with the highest level of land constraint”.