£15m allocated to struggling farmers

Published Monday, 08 October 2012
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The amount of modulation money taken from farmers' Single Farm Payment (SFP) next year is to be reduced, with an extra £15m being made available, the Agriculture Minister has announced.

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The process of modulation deducts money from the SFP, making it available for rural development schemes.

Responding to an Assembly motion on farming pressures, Minister Michelle O'Neill said she had "great sympathy" with farmers struggling with rising production costs, feed prices and adverse weather conditions.

"The European Commission has made provision for voluntary modulation to continue for another year in the context of the ongoing discussions on CAP Reform.

"They have said that this money, which is deducted from Single Farm Payment, can be used in the new round of Rural Development Programmes."

Ms O'Neill continued: "Other administrations in Britain will make use of this provision again.

"However, given the very real challenges facing our farmers I have decided not to continue to apply voluntary modulation next year.

"This will provide some much needed additional income for farmers in their 2013 SFP payments and will help to stimulate the rural communities in which farmers live and spend their money."

The £15m figure is based on current exchange rate for euro to British pound.

The Minister also said she believed that "farmers should get a fair price for their produce and that everyone in the food supply chain should share in the risks, costs and rewards.

"Each link in the supply chain is dependent on all of the other links.

"Whilst issues affecting competition are a reserved matter and therefore outside of my remit, I am committed to lending my support to address any unfairness in the food supply chain."

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