Speaking in Brussels, where he is attending an EU Commission conference “CAP: Have Your say”, IFA President Joe Healy said the delivery of a strong, sustainable and competitive Irish agriculture sector requires an increase in the CAP budget.
The IFA President said that in discussions on the future of the EU budget, strengthening existing common policies, such as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), is critical to securing a strong future for the EU, and to demonstrate the positives of EU membership to citizens.
“There is a tough negotiating road ahead but there is also an Irish EU Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan who understands agriculture and a Government that is aware of the importance of agriculture to the Irish economy.
“Member States must take into account the need for adequate funding to support the many economic, social and environmental benefits that are delivered through CAP, and to allow the policy to reform and respond to the demands of European society, and to emerging challenges in the areas of climate change and environmental sustainability.
“It must be recognised that low farm incomes remain a major challenge. Previous cuts to the CAP budget have undermined the effectiveness of this Common Policy and its ability to provide a fair standard of living for producers. EU farmers are meeting high regulatory standards in the areas of food safety, animal health, welfare and the environment, “Joe Healy said.
“The departure of the UK from the EU will certainly pose additional challenges for the CAP budget, as the UK is a net contributor to the overall EU budget, but the EU must step up and support farmers and food production in the EU27″
IFA’s Director of European Affairs, Liam MacHale who is based IFA’s Brussels office said,
“Today’s conference follows the conclusion of the CAP public consultation in May and will feed into the Communication on Modernising & Simplifying the CAP due at end of year and it is important that IFA’s voice continues to be heard during this process.”