The Common Agricultural Policy supports farmers to provide a sustainable supply of safe quality food for the public and promotes environment sustainability and rural development.
The current CAP runs to the end of 2020 and discussions on shaping the programme that will replace it have commenced.
An increased CAP budget is crucial
To address the gap between farm incomes and incomes in other sectors, farmers need a rise in their Basic Payment and other payments from an increased CAP Budget.
To secure an increase in payments, we need an increase in the CAP Budget.
To secure an increase in the CAP Budget, we need an increase in the overall EU Budget – the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF).
IFA is seeking that Member State Contributions to the EU Budget be increased to allow for an increase in the CAP Budget.
As a result of Brexit, there will be a shortfall in the EU Budget. Any shortfall must be made up in full by Member States. We cannot have a situation where members who remain in the EU are disadvantaged because one member decided to leave.
The EU has aspirations to fund new policy priorities in the areas of defence and migration. IFA is clear that any new EU measures must involve new funding and cannot impact on the CAP Budget.
An increased CAP Budget is needed to:
- reflect the recovery and growth in the European economy;
- take account of inflation and of increased requirements on farmers;
- reflect the higher costs of production on EU farms as a result of the requirement to maintain higher standards – CAP must protect the family farm structure from unsustainable world prices.
IFA is opposed to any proposals on convergence between countries that would involve a reduction in the national envelope for Ireland.
What CAP has to do for farm incomes and payments
A strong CAP Pillar 1 (direct payments) and Pillar II (Rural Development Programme) structure is necessary, including national co-financing for the RDP
- Vulnerable sectors including sucklers and sheep need targeted payments
- Direct payments must go to active farmers, based on objective criteria – agricultural production and provision of public goods
- Well-funded market management/support mechanisms are needed for sectors subject to price volatility
Direct payments cannot be diluted by charges and fees
Farm schemes and Rural Development
- IFA is seeking an agri-environment scheme with the potential to draw down up to €10,000
- Farmers with designated lands where restrictions apply need higher payments
- ANCs must be adequately resourced, with full restoration of funding. The 2019 review must ensure all areas are protected and payment rates reflect the natural constraint
- Strong farm investment programme is necessary across all sectors and to drive efficiency and competitiveness
Support for young farmers and generational renewal
Young farmers and new entrants to farming must be encouraged and supported – a National Reserve and Young Farmer Top Up must be key elements of CAP 2020
CAP must assist farmers who wish to retire and national taxation and social protection policy should support generational renewal.
Simplification and inspections
- The political commitment to deliver real simplification at farm level is essential and must be implemented in CAP 2020
- The complexity and negative impact of requirements such as greening in the tillage sector must be avoided
- The proposed new delivery model must simplify and reduce the burden of cross-compliance and the inspection regime at farm level.
- A close-out approach on inspections is needed to allow farmers to rectify non-compliance issues without penalty
- All inspections should be limited to 1% with 14 days advance notice and no duplication by state agencies.