08 Mar 2013
IFA PRESIDENT ACCUSES POLITICIANS OF DELIBERATELY MISLEADING FARMERS IN CAP DEBATEUncategorized
Ahead of a major protest by farmers outside the constituency office in Cork of the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney tomorrow (Sat), IFA President John Bryan has accused the Minister of deliberately misleading farmers on the true implications of the CAP negotiations for Irish farming.
The IFA President again challenged Simon Coveney to come clean and reveal the full extent of the losses that productive farmers will face under his proposals. Despite his claims that there will only be a 9% cut in their Single Farm Payment, thousands of active farmers are looking at reductions of 20% to 40%. It is grossly irresponsible of the Minister to persist with this deliberate downplaying of the outcome of the CAP Reform and the impact it will have on farm families and the growth targets in <i>Food Harvest 2020</i>. Simon Coveney must toughen his position in Brussels and he cannot sell out Irish agriculture in pursuit of securing a CAP deal.”
John Bryan said politicians who are pursuing a divide-and-conquer strategy are playing Russian roulette with the livelihoods of tens of thousands of farmers across the country. “Those who are trying to pitch east versus west, or big versus small, either do not understand or are telling blatant lies, which is more to do with their own agenda, rather than the well-being of farming. The Single Farm Payment (SFP) is not a fund that politicians can promise indiscriminately to garner favour with their constituents.”
He said the debate on the SFP Reform must be about the viability of active farmers and support for primary production, which is the bedrock of our largest indigenous industry, maintaining 300,000 jobs and exports of €9bn.
Mr Bryan said active, productive farmers in every parish, and of every size and enterprise, will lose 20% or more of their income if these proposals go through. With incomes on most farms already at a low level, this robbing Peter-to-pay-Paul, flat-earth policy, will render thousands of our most productive farmers unviable. “As the CAP proposals stand, a large proportion of what is taken from productive farmers will be redistributed to inactive or hobby farmers, most of whom don’t depend on farming for a living. Worse still, the more flattening that occurs, the more damage will be done to our ambitions around <i>Food Harvest 2020.”</i>
“Unlike others, IFA has been fully engaged here and in Brussels on this CAP Reform debate from the start. Our Association has developed a fair and robust position following the input of thousands of farmers the length and breadth of the country. IFA demands that SFP payments must support the viability of active, productive farmers, underpin production and ensure that our ambitious <i>Food Harvest </i>plans are achieved.”
He said, “As regards fairness, we are strongly of the view that monies taken off productive farmers must be minimised, and targeted at active farmers with low payments, using objective criteria. The CAP Rural Development Programme must have 50:50 co-financing from the Government, and must be targeted at active farmers in vulnerable sectors and regions through Disadvantaged Areas, agri-environment, upland schemes and on-farm investment”.