IFA President Tim Cullinan said that CAP strategic plan as submitted by Minister McConalogue and approved by the EU Commission today is a step in the wrong direction that will undermine food production.
“The new Eco Schemes which are funded by a 25% cut from each farmers basic payment is a step too far. The Minister could have reduced this cut to below 15% but he chose not to,” he said.
“The impact of the Eco schemes along with further convergence, front loading and greater conditionality will hit a cohort of our most productive farmers the hardest,” he said.
“The Eco Scheme measures themselves are designed for low output or to reduce output and will not be practical for many farmers,” he said.
“A number of the new schemes including the suckler cow, sheep and environmental schemes are underfunded,” he said.
“The new much trumpeted environmental scheme ACRES is a bureaucratic monster and needs changes to ensure it is workable for farmers,” he said.
Tim Cullinan also said that the onus is now on the Minister and his department to ensure the gaps created by his plan are covered by additional national funding.
“While today’s announcement from the European Commission is significant, there is no doubt that the real focus is on Minister McConalogue and the Department of Agriculture to ensure that any shortcomings from the plan are covered by national funding,” he said.
“The upcoming national budget is an opportunity for the Government to make up some of the shortfalls arising from the new CAP,” he said.
“As we have seen over the past 12 months, the landscape of farming and the economy can drastically change, and it continues to do so. This plan needs to have flexibility and be adaptable to any future changes, this is something that Commissioner Wojciechowski also reiterated when he addressed IFA back in May,” Tim Cullinan added. The IFA will also meet with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath this Friday where they will discuss the upcoming budget.