Speaking today in Brussels, IFA President John Bryan said the Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith and the Government must oppose the damaging elements of the proposals from the EU Commission on the reform of the CAP post 2013. He said Ireland’s allocation of the CAP budget must be safeguarded to support farmers and the agri-food sector in this country.
Mr Bryan said, “the redistribution of direct payments that would result from the implementation of the Commission proposals would be devastating for productive farms across all enterprises. This would seriously undermine agricultural production in Ireland, with damaging consequences for farm incomes, agricultural output, food exports, jobs and the rural economy.”
The IFA President said the options included in the Commission’s document would lead to a major shift in farm supports from the high-cost production systems in Ireland and Western Europe to the low-cost economies of Eastern Europe. “This must be resisted as it would impact severely on the growth potential identified in the Food Harvest 2020 Report.”
Mr Bryan said European farmers produce food to the highest environmental and animal welfare standards. “Trade deals such as WTO and Mercosur which will allow imports that do not meet these standards will only undermine European producers. The Commission’s document would effectively hand over food production to third countries and undermine European farm families.”
He acknowledged the change from last month’s document, which will see the Less Favoured Area (LFA) scheme remain within Pillar II. “The LFA payment, which supports farming in difficult land areas, has a very important socio-economic role for rural communities and fits therefore into the Rural Development Pillar of the CAP.” John Bryan said the Commission has also identified the importance of the public goods associated with the CAP and the role farmers play in enhancing the environment.
Concluding, the IFA President said, “Minister Smith must ensure Ireland’s national envelope is fully protected, and he must reject outright any proposal that will redistribute payments away from active and productive producers.”