IFA President Tim Cullinan said the coming days will be defining ones for European agriculture, with a major push to finalise the CAP negotiations.
The CAP proposals, particularly around the so called ‘Eco-schemes’, will cost farmers millions, he said.
“The EU is proposing to cut between 20% and 30% from every farmer’s Basic Payment and to only give some of it back. It’s not rewarding farmers, it’s penalising them,” he said.
“The current proposals will hit farmers with higher per hectare payments disproportionately, as the eco-schemes will only be paid back at a flat rate,” he said.
“There will also be compliance costs and charges for consultants to validate the ‘actions’ farmers will have to take,” he said.
“The Minister must get the maximum possible flexibility on eco-schemes so they can be implemented in a way that supports productive farmers,” he said.
“With the EU Parliament holding out for 100% convergence of per hectare payments, the reform risks devastating the incomes of farmers with higher per hectare payments regardless of how few hectares they have,” he said.
“The reform is going to make more unviable farmers,” he said.
“We need Minister McConalogue to stand up for Irish farmers as the EU Agriculture Commissioner Wojciechowski has been doing nothing to support farmers,” he said.
“The reality is that the Environment Commissioner Frans Timmermans has been running the show on CAP talks with the Agriculture Commissioner missing in action,” he said.
Trilogue negotiations between the three EU institutions to finalise the parameters for a new CAP will begin in Brussels today.
Tomorrow and Thursday, the Council of Agriculture Ministers will meet in Brussels.
IFA has published six key objectives for CAP and held a round of regional meetings, which conclude tonight. Three of these objectives around Eco-schemes, convergence and cross compliance will be the focus of discussions this week.
“It is vital that our Minister Charlie McConalogue secures maximum flexibility on any Eco-scheme; holds the line on the EU Council proposal for a maximum of 75% convergence; and ensures there are no restrictions on farmers on peat soils,” he said.