Good news for local fruit, vegetable and potato growers
Sinn Féin Farm Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA, has announced the ending of horticultural authorisations.
Restrictions on using land in fruit, vegetable or potato production to claim Single Farm Payment (SFP) will be removed, commencing with the 2008 Scheme year.
The Minister said: "I am committed to making the lives of our farming community easier and simplifying regulations wherever possible. The previous arrangements imposed complications for the fruit, vegetable and potato sector when making SFP claims. This decision, which is a result of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms, will simplify the process and is good news for local producers."
From 2008 Scheme year, land used to grow fruit, vegetable and potatoes will be eligible to support SFP claims on the same basis as any other eligible land use. Land used for top fruit orchards (eg apples, pears, plums) and hardy nursery stock production will similarly be eligible to support claims using existing SFP entitlements.
SFP entitlements which currently have horticultural authorisations attached to them will have these removed but will remain unchanged in terms of value and in all other respects.
This announcement does not have any impact in relation to the current (2007) SFP Scheme year. SFP claimants must continue to respect the existing land use requirements until the end of the ten month period which they have stated on their 2007 SFP applications.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms to the fruit and vegetable sector were agreed by the EU Agricultural Council on 12 June 2007.