As the negotiations on the structure of the CAP post-2013 are due to start following the publication of proposals in October, John Comer, Deputy President of ICMSA, has said the clear message that ICMSA has consistently conveyed to the Minister – and again as late as last week at the ploughing – is two-fold. Firstly, that the overall SFP national envelope must be protected and, secondly, that the payments have to be directed to active farmers. Where ‘active farmers’ means those individuals engaged in producing the commodities that drive our agri-food industry and exports.
“Time and time again in past reforms, the interests of active farmers have been undermined, but ICMSA is sending a very clear message that the interests of active farmers must be addressed and we can no longer afford to be subsidising “armchair” farmers at the expense of those who are working the land. If the Minister is to achieve this objective, one of the first and immediate tasks is to address the proposal for a 2014 base year. A 2014 base year would be an absolute disaster for active farmers and would result in massive escalation in land rental costs. The Minister cannot allow this to happen and a clear signal is needed immediately that a future year will not be the base year in order to prevent disruption to the rental land market”, said Mr Comer.
“With reference to a flat rate payment proposal, it is quite clear that the vast majority of active committed farmers have a payment well in excess of the national average of €270 per hectare and any proposal to restructure payments around a flat rate system would do huge damage to active producers. It is quite clear that a flat rate system will not work and it is clear that a structure will have to be devised to ensure active producers receive a payment that reflects their farming activity. It is also clear from ICMSA’s Single Farm Payment calculator at the Ploughing Championships that active farmers will lose – many of them very considerably – under the proposals leaked by the EU Commission and thus, our Minister must immediately seek amendments that addresses these three particular issues”, continued the Deputy President
“With regard to the proposed deductions of up to 15% for National Reserves, Disadvantaged Area Payments and coupled payments, the reality for farmers is that the payments should be index linked and any proposal to cut payments by 15% must be totally opposed by our Minister becuase farmers simply cannot afford a reduction in their payment levels”, he concluded.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Deputy President, ICMSA.