IFA President John Bryan will address the first regional CAP information meeting in Claremorris, Co Mayo this evening (Mon), where he will emphasise the importance of securing a fully-funded EU Budget for both the Single Farm Payment and the Rural Development Programme.
“My message to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney will be very straightforward: the future of farming in the West of Ireland depends greatly on the Single Farm Payment and Rural Development measures for vulnerable sectors and regions, including the option of coupled payments. For Pillar 11, this means 50:50 co-financing from the Irish Government. Pressure from some member states for a reduction in the overall CAP Budget post-2013 must be resisted and the Heads of Government meeting next month will have to put in place a full Budget up to 2020.”
The IFA President said the Rural Development Programme has been very successful along the western seaboard and its continuation would be vital to maintaining farming in every county. He said, “For low-income farmers in this region, rural development measures are crucial for the viability of their farms. Cutbacks in these schemes in recent years have had a devastating impact on their income and the Minister and the Government must ensure the Programme is a central part of the next CAP. I am determined to secure a new REPS-type scheme, as part of the Rural Development programme from 2014”.
John Bryan said tonight’s meeting will also be an opportunity to leave Minister Coveney in no doubt about the negative implications of a flat-rate payment and the Commission’s proposals on regionalisation. “The solution offered by the Commission to our difficulties will undermine production in every parish in the West of Ireland. Last week’s Day of Action delivered that message to the Commission and the Government, and farmers expect an outcome that supports production.”
He said, “The Minister cannot allow the Commission to push through a package of measures that would be very damaging to farming and the rural economy. For a region like the West of Ireland, where farming and agri-business is firmly embedded in every county, an outcome that underpins production must be achieved”.