Fianna Fáil Agriculture and Food Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue says current ANC (Areas of Natural Constraints) review must ensure that no farmer who currently qualifies for the scheme will lose out under a Departmental review

The Department of Agriculture is currently reviewing the designation of eligible areas under the ANC scheme. From 2018, eligible areas are being re-designated according to a set of bio-physical criteria. Presently, the scheme is based on a range of socio-economic factors.

“Nearly 100,000 farmers are currently eligible for ANC payments, representing over 80% of total BPS recipients.  It’s extremely important that all participants remain eligible for their payments after the review, given the severe challenges facing primary producers – falling prices, income volatility and reduced profitability in most sectors”, said Deputy McConalogue.

“The ANC scheme (previously called the disadvantaged areas payment) is vitally important in helping maintain the continued use of agricultural lands and ensure farmers serve as custodians of the Irish countryside.

“Restoring ANC payments to 2007 levels remains a key Fianna Fáil policy. It is also my view that increased ANC payments should reflect the natural constraint of each land type, by taking environmental designations into account when assessing natural constraint.

“Future payment increases, as is expected in 2018, should reflect the land constraint. ANC farmers on the most severely constrained land – such as mountainous ground – should see an increased payment to reflect the natural handicap of their land”.