The publication by the Department of Agriculture of farm payments for each county has revealed that since 2008 payment per farmer in Donegal has reduced by €1,186 resulting in a total loss of €10.8 million to the county in that period.
This was stated by Indepenent MEP Marian Harkin when she called for special measures to be introduced to counter the lack of fairness in the allocation of funds between counties like Donegal and the better advantaged counties of the South and East.
She said: “When, for instance, you see payment per farmer in Co. Kilkenny at €21,373 and in Donegal €9,847 the case for special measures for the more disadvantaged areas is very strong. Instead of reducing areas qualifying under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and closing down and reducing important environmental schemes the Government should target measures appropriate to Co. Donegal’s needs where farming performs such a vital economic role.
“In the revision of the Common Agricultural Policy currently under way the government should be seeking the kind of flexibility which will permit the tailoring of farm schemes to ensure their appropriateness at county level and their ability to prevent a repetition of the decline in farm payments such as those which have occurred in Donegal since 2008.
“In this regard the Minister must, through his involvement in the CAP Reform discussions, balance the need to incentivise intensive production in the better advantaged areas with proposals which will not just assist the Kilkenny’s but have due regard to the essential contribution which agriculture makes to sustaining vibrant rural communities in places such as Donegal,” the MEP said.