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de Brún calls for focus on needs of small farmers

10 March, 2009

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has said that a number of developments in the farming sector mean there is now an opportunity to focus on the needs of small farmers, particularly in the sheep sector and hill farmers.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is currently consulting on the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) Health Check and also on the LFA (Less Favourable Area) Scheme.

Ms de Brún said:

"I believe that with the consultation on the CAP Health Check and LFA Scheme we now have an opportunity to focus on the needs of the small farming sector.

"I have consistently argued that some of the unspent billions in the CAP budget should be used to support our sheep farmers and this could be worth almost €4 million (euro) for this sector if we can reach agreement on making it a priority.

"Within the consultation on LFA there is also considerable scope to target resources on keeping our smaller farmers viable, for example by skewing resources towards those with under 200 sheep.

"I believe that there are also other ways in which DARD, working with the EU and DEFRA in London, can specifically support smaller farmers. I would argue strongly that tranches 2 and 3 of the Farm Modernisation Scheme, for example, could be better targeted towards the small farm sector." ENDS

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