ANC scheme is essential and must be maintained - Martin Kenny TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on agriculture, food and the marine Martin Kenny TD has said that the Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme was a vital support for farming in the Northwest and it is essential that it be maintained and improved to protect the future of the family farm in the region.
Speaking in Leitrim today, Deputy Kenny said:
“The farm in Ireland is more than an economic unit, it is essential to the social fabric of our society. It is also the unit of production from which high quality Irish agri-food produce emerges.
"Many farmers, however, are working under natural constraints which means that making a living on their land needs more work and effort. This is what the ANC scheme was set up to address.
“It is important that farming is made a more viable enterprise than forestry if rural Ireland is to have a future.
“There is a review of areas of natural constraint coming soon. It has been postponed but not cancelled. Sinn Féin believes that the review should be an opportunity to improve the scheme and ensure that it provides meaningful support to those for whom it was originally designed, the farmers
“Sinn Féin is proposing that the Mountain Type Land designation would remain and that those farming on the hills would receive payments similar to those on the offshore islands.
“We would aim for payments on Mountain Type Lands of €250 on the first 20 hectares, €200 on the next ten and €70 on the final ten hectares to a maximum of 40 hectares. This would mean a maximum payment of €7,700 per holding.
“More severely constrained lowland would still be eligible for payments of €170 on the first 20 hectares, €100 on the next ten and €70 on the next ten, amounting to a maximum of €5,100.
"Meanwhile, less severely constrained lowlands would still be eligible for payments up to €3,400, based on €100 for the first 20 hectares and €70 on the next 20.
“We believe that this would cushion farmers proportionally to the constraints under which they are working and provide support where necessary for the basic unit of Irish farming, the family farm.”