IFA President Tim Cullinan said the incoming Government must stand firm on the CAP Budget as today’s proposals from the Commission fall well short of covering inflation and extra requirements the Commission wants to impose on farmers.
“Today’s proposals for the next CAP Budget are an improvement, but they still represent a cut of 9% in real terms from the current period (2014-2020). Farmers cannot afford a cut. The proposal must be increased to cover inflation and the extra requirements the Commission wants to impose on farmers,” he said.
“The next EU Council set for June 18/19th will be the first real test of our new Government, if we have one in place. Whoever the Taoiseach is will have to insist on a bigger Budget to provide farmers with a viable income,” he said.
“To put it bluntly, the Commission needs a reality check. It cannot impose more costs and output reductions which they set out in last week’s ‘Farm to Fork’ and ‘Biodiversity’ strategies and at the same time, cut the CAP Budget in real terms. It must match its new ambitions with additional funds,” he said.
Tim Cullinan said the recovery programme post-COVID-19 is crucial, but farmers and the rural economy cannot be left behind. “We recognise the importance of re-booting the economies across Europe, but the allocation to farming is not enough. The average farmer earns half the average worker across the EU. The recovery has to look at closing that gap,” he said.
The IFA President said COVID-19 had also hit farm incomes, particularly in the beef sector, and the Commission had to recognise this.
The CAP schemes are worth €1.8bn to farm incomes and rural Ireland each year, which is a significant injection into the rural economy.