One-off payments amounting to between €15,000 and €100,000 could be on the table for farmers and agri-food businesses struggling with rising input costs following a proposal put forward by the European Commission on Friday.

Payments would need to be targeted to those most hit by rising input costs and who are farming using “environmental and climate-friendly production methods”.

The proposal would need approval by the European Parliament and the European Council to be enacted.

Brussels noted the sharp increases in fertiliser, feed and energy costs facing farmers as a problem that has disrupted farmers and rural communities since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in stating the proposal.

'Survival is at stake'

“Farmers, with the support of the CAP, continue to relentlessly prove their worth by producing food under difficult circumstances,” said Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski on announcing the proposal.

“After the COVID-19 pandemic, they are now being heavily hit by the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

With this measure . . . we support them so they can keep producing the food the world needs

“For some, survival is at stake. With this measure, the latest in a series deployed under the CAP, we support them so they can keep producing the food the world needs, care for their land and provide for their families,” the Commissioner said.

The "exceptional measure" would be funded through the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD), which is used to fund member states’ Rural Development Programmes (RDP), and would require updated RDPs to be submitted to the Commission for approval before payments could be made to farmers.

Up to 5% of Ireland's EAFRD envelope for 2021-2022 could be directed to farmers through the lump sums, the Commission has proposed.

Payments would also need to be made before 15 October 2023 under the Commission’s plan.