Minister Coveney’s Focus Must Remain on Getting a Good Deal for Irish Agriculture – IFA

Reacting to the latest compromise proposals in Brussels, IFA President John Bryan said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney’s primary focus in the CAP talks must remain on securing a deal that works for Irish agriculture.

John Bryan said under the new text, Member States have the option of choosing 2012, 2013 or 2014 as the new reference year. The number of entitlements would then be equal to the number of hectares declared in the selected reference year. He said, “By choosing 2012 as the reference year, Minister Coveney can remove all of the unnecessary and distorting land market speculation, which is damaging productive agriculture”.

As the discussions continue this afternoon, the IFA President said the Minister must secure maximum flexibility which will allow the least damaging model to be applied to Ireland. “I realise that Minister Coveney has a job to do as President of the Farm Council, but he must prioritise his duty to Irish farmers during the negotiations. It is vital that the Minister rejects the most negative aspects of Commissioner Ciolos’ proposals, and delivers an outcome that supports active productive farmers in Ireland.”

John Bryan said IFA remains totally opposed to flattening and regionalisation or a minimum payment. He said a minimum payment on Ireland would completely negate the outcome suggested by the Minister under his approximation model, and any benefits that could accrue from a flexible greening option would be eroded.

The IFA President said a minimum payment would take money from productive farmers and redistribute it to inactive farmers who produce little. “This is unfair and unacceptable. IFA is insisting that monies available for re-distribution are targeted at active farmers with low payments, using objective criteria such as stocking rates and the option of coupling.”

He said the future viability of tens of thousands of productive farm families and the delivery of growth plans in Food Harvest 2020 are totally dependent on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney securing a deal that works for agriculture in this country.

Mr Bryan said the Minister must also commit 50:50 co-financing for the next R<span>ural Development programme for the next seven years to support vulnerable regions and vulnerable sectors.  On LFAs, John Bryan said the Minister must use the flexibilities in the criteria to retain the maximum area currently designated.

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