15 May 2015
EU AGRICULTURE COUNCIL NEEDS TO DO A LOT MORE TO DELIVER REAL SIMPLIFICATION – IFABrussels, President
IFA President Eddie Downey has welcomed the conclusions on simplification agreed at the EU Agriculture Council meeting this week in Brussels but said that this must be part of an overall strategy to simplify other aspects of the direct payments system, which are proving quite onerous for farmers.
Mr. Downey said he had expected the EU Council of Agricultural Ministers to make a lot more progress on the simplification work agenda at their meeting.
Welcoming the first steps by Commissioner Hogan to simplify the greening process, with changes to EFA’s, Eddie Downey said that much more needs to be done.
IFA National Grain Chairman Liam Dunne said, “The new CAP greening requirements have placed a disproportionately onerous and burdensome regime on arable crop farmers and their advisors. Many growers are having second thoughts about continuing to grow tillage crops in light of increasing complexity of the new system coupled with marginal returns. In many instances they are being forced to grow crops for which there is little or no local market need.”
Liam Dunne said further simplification is required to ensure that tillage farmers are allowed to respond to local market signals while respecting the environment. Given the vagaries of Irish weather, farmers should not be obliged to plant more than 25% of their arable area to a catch crop under equivalence for crop diversification. In addition the remote sensing system should be sufficiently robust to accurately interpret the EFA area and farmers should not have to reinterpret this data when making their SFP application.
Eddie Downey said the administrative burden on farmers, and associated bureaucracy and red tape under the direct payment system, is very complex and challenging. He said the stress and fear associated with farm inspections, particularly unannounced inspections, has a negative impact on farmer welfare and is unacceptable.
IFA has made a detailed set of proposals to Commissioner Hogan on simplification seeking real reform and simplification across the direct payments system, including the inspection and cross compliance regime.
The IFA President said the entire inspection process needs to be simplified and streamlined in an efficient and more farmer-friendly manner. “Currently farm inspections are extremely complex and bureaucratic with a full inspection similar to a forensic examination involving hundreds of questions, many of which are incomprehensible.”