Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed Executive agreement on £623million funding for rural development and the agri-food Industry announced by Minister Michelle O’Neill today.
“We are at an extremely important juncture in terms of rural development and the Agri-food industry. I have always believed and advocated a well-funded, flexible and fair CAP reform and I believe that this announcement by Minister O’Neill today will address many of the inequalities that existed in previous funding.
“I have always supported the position that recognises the importance of agriculture to the north of Ireland and argued for the maximum amount of funding. There was an historical imbalance in how the current funding allocation was distributed particularly in the Severely Disadvantaged Areas.
“I am particularly pleased that the Minister is introducing an incremental flat rate of payments and that the North will be treated as one region. I believe that the compromise position on the time frame for achieving the flat rate is a reasonable one and will be welcomed by the vast majority in the farming community.
“These are potentially exciting times for the agri-food industry and rural communities which have remained strong through the recession despite the many challenges and financial strains on individual farming families.
“Today’s announcement will deliver a large degree of stability for future planning by the farming and rural communities and I congratulate the Minister on her perseverance.” CRÍOCH/END