Proposed cuts to the CAP Budget are a major threat to farming in Ireland and must be strongly resisted, IFA President Joe Healy said today following the launch of CAP 2020 proposals by Commissioner Phil Hogan in Brussels.
“The fundamental issue for farmers is the size of the CAP Budget. It is completely unacceptable that any cut is being contemplated when farmers are already struggling on low incomes and are being asked to do more under CAP proposals.
“Taoiseach Leo Varadkar must make it clear at EU Heads of State level that the recent Commission proposals on the CAP Budget are a non-runner.
Joe Healy said, “The Taoiseach must insist on an increased budget to take account of inflation and the cost of any additional measures imposed on farmers. Minister Creed met with like-minded Ministers for Agriculture to build alliances on this issue yesterday and this must be followed up by the Government to ensure farmers are not left short in the Budget negotiations. The future of farming and rural Ireland is at stake.”
He said the proposals on the Budget from the Commission are a not a ‘fair’ outcome and farmers would see through any attempt to put a spin on the situation. “The proposals are unfair and unacceptable and must be rejected,” he said.
Joe Healy said, “All sectors have shared in the economic revival, yet farmers have had their direct payments eroded by inflation. At the very least, farmers need a CAP increase in line with inflation”.
He emphasised that CAP is a policy that benefits all EU citizens, “CAP is intended to provide farmers with a fair standard of living to support them to produce a sustainable supply of safe high-quality food for consumers at affordable prices. Because of CAP, the average household spend on food has reduced from 30% to just 15%. Farmers are also expected to deliver public goods and meet society’s expectations on the environment and climate change.”
Now the detail of the CAP proposals has been released, IFA will be intensifying its campaign to ensure that direct payments continue to play a significant part in supporting active farmers and reflect the important role farmers play in the provision of public goods.
This will include lobbying at a national and EU level, engaging with MEPs and TDs. IFA has already lobbied more than 80 TDs & Senators, where there was strong support for farmers and the CAP as vital to support low incomes.