Excluding Organics Scheme farmers from participating the pilot REAP scheme is a step in the wrong direction, according to ICSA organics chair Fergal Byrne.
“We cannot continue to send out a message that those doing most for the environment will be at a disadvantage when it comes to allocating environmental supports,” he said.
Mr Byrne said that this was something that will absolutely have to be addressed in the design of the flagship agri-environment scheme in the new CAP.
“Organic farmers must be able to reap as much of a reward from these schemes as conventional farmers if we are serious about encouraging farmers to switch to organic methods and playing our part in the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy,” said Mr Byrne.
He said the issue had come to the fore as farmers had to make a choice between opting to apply for scheme or continue with the Organics Scheme, the deadline for which was April 30.
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