Speaking at the AIB Tullamore Show, IFA President John Bryan has warned that the proposals in the EU Commission’s leaked document on the CAP post-2013 would lead to the destruction of the current Single Farm Payment system “in a senseless drive to impose a flat-rate payment which will decimate agricultural production by up to 30%, resulting in a collapse in economic output of €1.25bn per annum and thousands of job losses.”
John Bryan said, “The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must reject outright these proposals as they would inflict massive damage on Irish farming, agricultural production, the food sector, jobs and economic recovery.” In addition, he said the proposals in their current format are so damaging that they would strangle the <i>Food Harvest</i> 2020 plans for much of the sector.
Under the proposals some farmers would be facing Single Farm Payment cuts ranging from 20%-30% in year 1, rising to over 50% in 2019. This would decimate the most productive farmers, severely hitting their incomes and result in major destocking, particularly in livestock and sheep, and a significant fall-off in tillage hectares.
The IFA President said, “This would have a hugely negative knock-on effect from the agri-food sector to economic activity in the overall rural economy in particular to export earnings. Agriculture is growing and has the potential to contribute significantly to Ireland’s economic recovery. With farming and the agri-food sector underpinning output of €9.25bn, the implications of a 30% hit on agricultural production would lead to an output loss in the economy of €1.25bn.”
John Bryan said, “Any proposal to distribute the Single Farm Payment on a flat-rate per hectare basis either regionally or nationally is totally unacceptable, as it takes no account of differences in the productive capacity of farmers or land within Member States or regions.”
On greening, John Bryan said farmers already comply with high standards that deliver a significant benefit to the environment. “In the context of the Food Harvest 2020 growth plans for the country, it is critically important that these new greening measures do not restrict the potential of Irish farmers to sustainably grow food production.”