No weather compensation for farmers
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has ruled out a compensation scheme for farmers affected by the recent bad weather.
He said it would be a “crazy” policy for Government as it would be almost impossible to decide who should qualify.
He said expenditure ceilings were putting “huge pressures” on the Department of Agriculture.
“We’re being asked to reduce our current expenditure by €87 million and our capital expenditure by €27 million so in that context, the idea that we could just find tens of millions of euros from somewhere to compensate for bad weather is not realistic.”
Mr Coveney told a meeting of the Association of European Journalists he had asked EU Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos to give Irish farmers a 70 per cent advance payment of the Single Farm Payment in the middle of October to improve farmers’ cash flow.
He said farmers were having a very difficult time because of the inclement weather. “There was more rainfall in the first two weeks of June than there was in the first two and a half months of the year…we’ve more or less had two months without a dry day.”
IFA national grain committee chairman Noel Delaney estimated that said that the bad weather had reduced crop yield potential by at least 300,000 tonnes.
“Torrential and incessant rain, coupled with below normal temperatures and low sunshine levels, have been taking their toll on crops,” he said.
“Despite increased cereal sowings of 27,000 hectares, we are looking at a potential harvest of 2.1 to 2.2 million tonnes, which is substantially down on last year’s harvest of 2.45m tonnes.”
Mr Delaney said farmers would be faced with a salvage operation if there was not a dramatic improvement in weather conditions in the coming days.