The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has informed Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Éamon Ó Cuív TD, that there is no provision under EU regulations for an agri-environmental scheme of one year’s duration to cover the year 2014.
However, the new CAP, due to commence in 2014 will not now begin until 2015 at the earliest which will pose a lot of problems for farmers across the country.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented: “At the end of this year there will be approximately 20,000 participants in the AEOS Scheme and by July 2014 there will be no participants left in the REPS 4 Scheme, with only 17,000 left in the scheme at 31st December, 2013.
“What this means is that the number of farmers in receipt of agri-environmental payments next year will be very small and the Minister has made it clear in reply to me that there is no provision for new farmers to be accepted into an AEOS scheme next year.
“Many, many farmers depend on these agri-environmental schemes for farm income and I now call on the Minister to take up the issue as a matter of urgency with the European Commission. Funding needs to be made available on an interim basis for an additional one year agri-environmental scheme, because of the delay in the new CAP.”