Farm schemes should proceed – Divilly

IFA Rural Development Chairman Padraic Divilly has said that there was no reason why the various farm schemes negotiated under the 2007-2013 Rural Development Plan could not proceed in advance of formal EU approval.             Speaking at a meeting of the EU Rural Development Advisory Committee in Brussels recently, Mr Divilly said EU officials had indicated to him that approval of rural development plans for 15 member states will commence shortly.             ‘Ireland’s plan is in the first group of 15 for approval and this creates the opportunity to implement the new farm schemes without any further delay,’ he added.             The IFA Rural Dev Chairman said that schemes like the Farm Improvement Scheme, Young Farmer Installation Aid, Early Retirement, REPS and Disadvantaged Area based payments can begin in advance of this formal approval as it appears that there are no outstanding matters in the negotiations with the EU Commission.             Mr Divilly said ‘farmers anxiously await the introduction of these schemes, as they are part of the National Partnership deal negotiated by IFA last October. The schemes will be worth €1 billion per year to Irish farmers and will significantly boost farm incomes, and support vital investments on farms.’