Bu­reau­cratic mess puts food en­ter­prises at fi­nan­cial risk

Irish Independent - Farming - - Front Page -

this is dev­as­tat­ing news for ru­ral food busi­nesses and for the part­ner­ship com­pa­nies. “If you ask any of the Leader/Part­ner­ship com­pa­nies to name their flag­ship projects the ma­jor­ity will iden­tify food projects among their big suc­cesses.” has the big­gest bud­get, cov­ers REPs, Forestry, AEOS and en­vi­ron­men­tal mea­sures, while Axes three and four cover the more non-farm­ing ru­ral de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives and farm diver­si­fi­ca­tion.

“It is this last axis where the Part­ner­ship/Leader com­pa­nies fit in and this is how we sup­ported food en­ter­prises.”

A memo from the Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity, Equal­ity and Gaeltacht Af­fairs to the part­ner­ship groups seek­ing to clar­ify the sit­u­a­tion high­lights the com­plex­ity of what is in­volved. There is a list of pro­hib­ited prod­ucts known as An­nex one. This de­tail projects that com­pa­nies can­not fund.

“ The pro­cess­ing of any prod­uct that is on the An­nex one list which re­sults in an­other prod­uct that is still on the An­nex one list is in­el­i­gi­ble un­der Axis three whether that pro­cess­ing is car­ried out by a farmer or a non-farmer. So the pro­cess­ing of pota­toes into crisps is in­el­i­gi­ble, sim­i­larly milk into cheese or beef an­i­mals into steaks.” The memo goes on to state: “ The pro­cess­ing of any prod­uct that is on the An­nex one list which re­sults in a prod­uct that is not on the An­nex one list is el­i­gi­ble un­der Axis three, eg milk into flavoured yo­gurt.”

The memo adds that “there are very few prod­ucts” that are not on the An­nex one list.

Ac­cord­ing to Walsh, the crux of the prob­lem cen­tres on the fact that farm diver­si­fi­ca­tion un­der the new Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme is re­stricted to non-agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.

This is in­ter­preted as ex­clud­ing food or food prod­ucts which are to be funded un­der the com­pet­i­tive­ness mea­sure in Axis one.

How­ever, there is no money avail­able for food en­ter­prises in Axis one and the part­ner­ship com­pa­nies have no brief in re­la­tion to the axis.

It is un­der­stood that dis­cus­sions are on­go­ing be­tween the Ir­ish Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and the Com­mis­sion with a view to re­solv­ing the is­sue through the pos­si­ble re­al­lo­ca­tion of funds and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties within the pro­gramme.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.