25 08 2020
IFA President Tim Cullinan met with the Taoiseach and acting Minister for Agriculture Micheál Martin yesterday evening.
IFA Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins has urged the Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary to commence the process of extending GLAS contracts to 36,000 farmers who are due to finish their five-year plans at the end of December.
Taoiseach must give a clear commitment that payments at farm-level will keep pace with inflation
Reacting to the outcome of the talks IFA President Tim Cullinan said that while a deal was needed, the funding provided for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) over the next seven years is not consistent with the EU’s aspirations for farming as part of the European Green Deal.
“On the one hand, the Commission wants farmers to take costly actions to implement the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies, but on the other hand, they don’t want to provide the necessary funding,” he said.
“The overall allocation for CAP is down approximately 9% at constant prices, compared to the previous seven years. The Government will need to come forward with significant co-financing to protect payments,” he said.
“What farmers will want to know is how these figures, together with national co-financing from the Government, will translate into payments at farm level,” he said.
“The Taoiseach now needs to give a clear commitment to all farmers that their payments will at least be maintained in real terms during the transition in 2021/2022 and beyond when the new CAP comes into play,” he said.
“These talks were difficult with push back from the so-called frugal countries reducing funding for rural development from the recovery fund from €15bn to €7.5bn during the talks,” he said.
“While there is a ring-fenced ‘additional allocation’ for Ireland under rural development of €300m, the Government will need to provide significant National co-financing to support these programmes,” he said.
An essential aspect of the outcome is the creation of a €5bn contingency fund for Brexit.
“Depending on the Brexit outcome this may not be sufficient, but it is an important acknowledgement that some sectors and Member States will need aid if there is a poor outcome to the Brexit talks,” he said.
IFA President Tim Cullinan said the latest papers from the EU Council meeting in Brussels show that rather than increasing the overall allocation for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) it has been reduced by some €5bn.
“In the draft before the talks began, €15bn was allocated to the Rural Development (Pillar 2) element of the CAP from the €750bn recovery fund. We understand this has now been reduced to €10bn,” he said.
“This cut is unacceptable, and the Taoiseach must make it clear that it is a total non-runner,” he said.
“We cannot have a scenario where our Taoiseach comes back from the talks with less for the CAP than he went out with, the CAP budget must increase not reduce,” he said.
“It is easy to talk the talk but now he needs to walk the walk,” he said.
“The EU wants farmers to do more for the environment and biodiversity yet they will not back it up with the necessary funding,” he said.
IFA President Tim Cullinan held his first meeting with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Barry Cowen this afternoon.