Payments to farmers must be protected in budget

Payments to farmers in Donegal must be protected in budget – Ó Domhnaill

Fianna Fáil candidate for the Donegal South West bye-election, Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill, has today said Fianna Fail is the only party with a clear and ambitious strategy for developing the farming industry in the next decade and that everything must be done to protect farmers in December’s budget.

“We are the only party with a clear and ambitious policy framework for developing the agri food, fisheries and forestry sector over the next 10 years under Food Harvest 2020. We plan to increase exports by a third to €12billion on an annual basis over the next decade and improve our competitiveness by 20%. In order to achieve these ambitious targets, it is essential we protect farmers’ payments in the budget.”

“We have invested heavily in farming in Donegal over the past few years. Since 2005, farmers in Donegal have received over €259 million in Single Farm Payments (SFP), while over €120 million has been paid out under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme (DAS). Since the 50% advance payments began issuing on the 18th October last, which is six weeks earlier than otherwise would be the case, farmers in Donegal have received €20.6 in Single Farm Payments, while over €15million has been paid out to farmers in the County under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme so far this year. The balancing payments under the Single Farm Payment payments will commence from 1st December.”

“Despite the difficult economic circumstances, the Government has launched a significant new scheme during the year called the Agri Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) with an allocation of €50million. This scheme offers a completely new approach to the rural environment with farmers being paid to undertake important environmental measures. As well as introducing this new scheme, payments under REPS are continuing with 4430 farmers in Donegal receiving €29.2 million last year.”

“There is a lot of money flowing into County Donegal in direct payments to farmers. Thankfully, there are clear indications of recovery in the sector and I am confident that it has a very bright future. The maintenance of these payments is absolutely crucial to the livelihoods of farmers in Donegal and must be maintained at the present rates. I fully recognise that hard choices have to be made in the forthcoming budget, however, such is the importance of farming and the agri-food sector to County Donegal, that direct payments for schemes such as DAS and the new AEOS, must be protected,” concluded Senator Ó Domhnaill.

Posted: Nov 15, 2010     |     Categories: Donegal South West