- Any cuts in the Basic Payment would be a shocking failure
IFA President Tim Cullinan said that it is vital that Taoiseach Micheál Martin takes a strong stand at the marathon EU negotiations in Brussels which commenced at 3 pm today.
“Farmers need the Taoiseach to stand firm on the CAP. As outlined by IFA over the weekend, the latest draft proposals show a €5bn reduction in the allocation for the Rural Development (Pillar II) compared to the draft document before the talks,” he said.
“This is unacceptable, and there are also real concerns about the allocation to Pillar one which supports the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). The EU allocation for Pillar I must ensure that the BPS is at least maintained for every farmer during the transition period and beyond” he said.
“IFA wants an increase in payments to account for inflation, and any extra asks on farmers. If we end up with cuts in the BPS it would be a shocking failure for the new Government” he said.
“IFA believes that the current allocation for Pillar I will be insufficient to maintain the BPS even at its current levels. The time for fudging figures has long passed. The Taoiseach must be crystal clear on this point before he leaves Brussels,” he said.`
“Minister Dara Calleary is attending his first Agriculture Council meeting today, and it is vital that he also delivers a strong Message about CAP funding,” he said.
17 07 2020
IFA President Tim Cullinan said that the CAP budget must be the top priority for the new Taoiseach Michael Martin at today’s EU Council meeting.
“Recent national political events mustn’t distract from the importance of the meeting this weekend. The future of Irish agriculture is at stake,” he said.
“While progress has been made on the budget IFA estimates that the CAP budget is 9% lower, in real terms than the budget for the previous seven years,” he said.
“We are particularly concerned about the allocation for direct payments in Pillar one. The current proposal will not be sufficient to even sustain the Basic Payment Scheme at the same level as 2020,” he said.
The IFA President said, “The Taoiseach has to be crystal clear that there can be no cut to any farmer payments. IFA has been campaigning for an overall CAP budget that would cover inflation and the extra asks placed on farmers”.
“It is not sustainable to expect farmers to take on more and more measures for the public good while receiving less funding. It the EU wants us to do more, then they must increase funding in line with any extra asks,” he said.
IFA’s European Director Liam MacHale, who is based in Brussels, is at the talks.
- Funding of CAP post 2020 – The current proposals must be improved upon as Ireland cannot accept a cut to CAP direct payments of 9% in real terms. Under the current proposal from the commission there is a shortfall under Pillar I and II, which could result in cuts to the Basic Payment Scheme including during the transition phase. No farmer can suffer a cut in their payments under the new CAP or during the transition. Under the next CAP, the annual value of direct payments has to increase from the current level of €1.8bn to €2bn inclusive of national co-financing.
- Increasing farm income – Family farm income is about half of general income, and is even more challenging in vulnerable sectors. Tackling the income disparity at farm level must be an absolute priority. The recent agri-food 2030 strategy consultation survey showed that lack of profitability/income was the main deterrent to young people getting involved in the sector, i.e. generational renewal.
- A Fair and Viable Price – Transposition of the EU Unfair Trading Practices Directive into law by May 2021 and legislate to ensure fairer margins across the food chain; eliminate all unfair trading practices, including the ban on below cost selling; and provide for price transparency along the food supply chain.
- Targeted support for vulnerable sectors – Strong targeted supports for vulnerable sectors such as suckler and sheep must be provided through higher direct payments as both of these sectors are under serious economic threat. Tillage enterprises are also becoming more vulnerable due to restrictions on the use of necessary products which maximise efficiency.
- Payment for carbon sequestration and more accurate accounting for farm emissions – The benefits farmers and agriculture provide in carbon sequestration must be recognised and rewarded in the plan, but with additional funding from outside the CAP. All carbon sinks including grassland, hedgerows, crops, peatlands and forestry must be fully accounted for with the most up to date science.
- There must also be recognition for the cyclical nature of methane in GHG emissions accounting methodology. Environmental schemes need to be sufficiently funded to enable an overall payment of €10,000 per farmer in a REPS-type scheme. Higher payments must apply in Natura areas.
- Reducing compliance costs/simplification – Farmers already meet the highest of standards across all SMRs and GAEC. New EU initiatives must not add to the complexity of the CAP, nor create additional compliance costs on farmers. We cannot have CAP payments leaking to service providers or people who are not genuinely farming.
02 06 2020
At today’s COPA Praesidium addressed by Agriculture Commissioner Wojciechowski, IFA President Tim Cullinan told the Commissioner that the 9% cut in the real value of CAP funding in the proposed EU budget (MFF) for 2021-2027 was very concerning.