IFA President John Bryan today (Fri) said the EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos was failing to address Irish concerns over his unacceptable CAP reform proposals, which will seriously damage Irish agricultural production and family farming.
Speaking at a meeting in Ardee Mart, John Bryan warned, “There is growing anger and frustration among farmers with the Commission’s intransigence on our issues to date, and unless addressed, the Commissioner is heading for a major confrontation with Ireland”. The IFA President called on Commissioner Ciolos to move rapidly and properly address the very deep concerns in Ireland over his proposed reforms.
John Bryan described as ‘senseless’ the Commissioner’s proposals for flat-rate payments and regionalisation, and said they were very damaging for Irish agriculture. “These proposals are a direct attack on our most productive farmers, who are the very people we are depending on to drive growth and jobs under <i>Food Harvest 2020.” </i>
“Pursuing a flat-rate payment system shows no understanding of farming in Ireland, which is highly diverse, with major differences in farming enterprises, land capacity and market returns. The Commissioner’s proposal for regionalisation offers no solution as it would undermine production in every county in Ireland.”
John Bryan pointed out that flattening would decimate the incomes of tens of thousands of average-sized, productive farmers. He gave an example of a suckler to beef farmer, with 24 suckler cows, on 77 acres, who would lose €6,500 in his Single Farm Payment, cutting his income by up to 40%. “With this level of payment loss, this farmer, and thousands like him, will be forced to pull back production and have their viability threatened.”
“We are very disappointed with the lack of meaningful response from Commissioner Ciolos, despite our engagement with him since he took over as Commissioner, including a major session at the Association’s AGM in January. The Commissioner must take on board the damaging effect of his flat-rate proposals on Irish farming, and now come forward with amendments that strictly limit the redistribution imposed on active farmers.”
Mr Bryan stressed the importance for Ireland of retaining the full CAP Budget, including €1.25b for the Single Farm Payment and €350m for Rural Development measures. “A strong rural development programme will be critical and must be focussed on vulnerable regions and sectors and support on-farm innovation and restructuring.”
The IFA President called on the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, and Irish MEPs to redouble their efforts to secure the CAP budget for Ireland and a payment system that supports active farmers and underpins agricultural production and growth.