Indice Rural Fri, 25 Nov 2022 05:30:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Indice Rural 32 32 Changes to Burren environmental farming program prompt co-founders to quit – The Irish Times Fri, 25 Nov 2022 05:03:45 +0000

According to one of its founders, the success of a single environmental scheme involving hundreds of farmers around the Burren could be jeopardized by the introduction of a new and wider scheme under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms ) of the EU.

The Burren programme, which involves over 330 farmers in Co Clare, has been recognized at European level as a conservation project promoting sustainable agricultural management.

However, Dr Brendan Dunford and co-founder Sharon Parr resigned due to concerns about the environmental integrity of the replacement scheme which they believe could lead to the decline of the Burren landscape.

Work undertaken under the programme, which gives farmers more freedom in managing their land and providing advice when needed, includes restoring damaged habitats, controlling brush, repairing walls, protecting water supplies and access to land.

Fields covered by the program are ranked according to a “healthy habitat” checklist, with farmers who receive higher scores being entitled to larger payments.

After 13 years of operation, the program must change from January 1st. Farmers will need to switch to the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme, known as Acres Burren Aran CP, covering territory from the Aran Islands to east Galway. It is feared that this will also lead to a reduction in incentives for conservation measures, with the average payment dropping from €9,000 to €7,000.

Dr Dunford said the scheme’s results-based payments and strong local support, backed by “a lot of ambition”, have ensured its environmental success, while the new scheme risks eroding its simple, fair and efficient.

“It’s not about the money,” he said. “It shows that farmers can do something for the environment if they are supported.”

At a time of a national biodiversity crisis, he said, the new program lacked flexibility and did not take advantage of the opportunities offered by the new cap. He said he was surprised by the strong reaction from participating farmers, who were unhappy with the changes to a program they owned.

“We welcome ambition and scaling up, but regret that environmental integrity is diminished; definitely in the Burren,” Dr Dunford said.

Burren IFA member Michael Davoren – another co-founder of the scheme – told the Clare Champion that “it is an unholy mess and it is simply unthinkable that something which is the toast of Europe and a model for countless other projects are destroyed”.

He added: “The Taoiseach has made commitments on biodiversity and the truth is that without the dedicated program the Burren will be back to hazel forest in 20 years. We have spent two decades keeping it at bay. It’s hard work, but it’s viable with funding.

IFA rural development chair Michael Biggins said the resignations “raise serious questions about the credibility” of the Acres program.

“It is incredible that a project, which serves as a model for many others across the EU, is forced to lower its environmental standard. The minister must step in and ensure that no farmer suffers a loss of income as a result of the design of the new Acres program. »

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Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State Pippa Hackett met with local farmers, including Dr Dunford, about the issue this week. In a statement, they said they recognized “the excellent work done by the Burren program – by the farmers, advisors and the Burren team themselves – with the resulting benefits for the environment and the community of Co Claire”.

“It is important to offer this opportunity to a much larger number of farmers so that a much larger area is scored, with the ultimate goal of achieving better results for biodiversity, climate and soil quality. ‘water,” McConalogue said.

Ms. Hackett said: “Our goal with Acres is to significantly increase our environmental ambition; 1,300 farmers in the Burren-Aran region will be able to participate, which represents an increase of more than 300%”.

The two ministers welcomed a significant increase in environmental monitoring and assessment in the region, adding that they recognized the importance of ensuring that farmers with large tracts of land of high environmental quality are incentive to continue to provide a high level of environmental benefits.

They said department officials were working closely with the Burren team to develop a bespoke bonus payment structure to achieve this goal and reward these farmers for maintaining their land at a high environmental standard, ” thus preventing environmental setback or decline”.

Dr Dunford told the Irish Times that although the meeting with ministers went well, his concerns about the weakening of the environmental elements of the Burren scheme remained.

However, he urged farmers to apply for the scheme despite his concerns because “there is no other option”.

He acknowledged the benefits of expansion, but said “we don’t want to have scale if we’re going to lose integrity.”

Farmers proposed that the Burren landscape be classed as an ‘exceptional circumstance’ given the ‘unique extent and quality of habitats and archeology present’. Such a measure is authorized by the Cape.

Malawi: First Capital Bank introduces agricultural season loans for civil servants up to K3 million Thu, 24 Nov 2022 08:15:57 +0000

One of Malawi’s leading financial institutions, First Capital Bank, has launched a special agricultural season loan product “Tiyeni ku Munda” – targeting Malawi government officials.

The criterion is that they must possess valid national identity cards; stamped bank statements and needs no other collateral.

Under the theme: “Feeding the harvest with a first capital bank loan”, is a response to the approach of the agricultural season, whose rains are accelerating.

“First Capital Bank would like to remind its customers that with a loan of up to K3 million, processed within 48 hours, they can secure a harvest that can feed their families and generate additional income,” said in a press release Twikale Chirwa, the director of the Bank. of marketing.

“With a loan from First Capital Bank, recipients can qualify for affordable means to meet the needs of this agricultural season.

“First Capital Bank Malawi continues to support its clientele by providing credit to Malawian government civil servants, which is deducted through Malawi’s centralized payment solutions.

The target market are civil servants who are clients of First Capital Bank as well as non-First Capital Bank account holders at competitive interest rates; no upfront costs.

“Add-on facility is available and First Capital Bank can consolidate existing loans with other institutions, credit insurance and funeral cover.