The President of Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), Jackie Cahill, has stated that the EU’s proposals to ‘even-out’ the farm payment rates between Member States poses a risk that Ireland may suffer a cut in the overall current envelope of funding available to Ireland and he has urged to Minister Coveney to move immediately to forestall any such threat.…
“The payment Ireland receives per hectare is already, effectively, at the EU average so Ireland must be exempt from any cuts under this formula announced today. This is the first task for Ireland and the priority for Minister Coveney in the negotiations which will now commence. The proposals for a base year of 2014 – somewhat related to 2011 – is totally unworkable and could lead to widespread speculation and disruption of the normal letting and leasing of agricultural land in Ireland. Virtually every single active farmer to whom I have spoken is in favour of a 2011 base year and Ireland should press strongly for this measure to apply to Ireland”, continued Mr Cahill
“One of the core issues in the new regime from 2014 onwards will be an acceptable definition of what constitutes an active farmer. After months – if not years – of discussion on this point, the proposals published today on this matter are completely useless and virtually comic. Under today’s proposals, a person with a €100,000 of farm income per annum who claims €4,000 in Single Farm Payment would be deemed a non-active farmer, whereas the same person with the same income who claims €6,000 in Single Farm Payment he would be deemed to be an active farmer and would be paid the €6,000. The limits are arbitrary and make no sense”, observed the ICMSA President
Mr Cahill said that while he was not happy with the proposed ‘Greening’ rate of up to 30% of total payment, he noted that the maintenance of permanent pasture will serve to meet this requirement for the vast majority of farmers and he said that, provided we get the details right, this will be a solid and ‘do-able’ item on Minister Coveney’s agenda for negotiations.
He was much more critical of the proposal to scrap a number of market support measure, including the historically important calf milk replacement scheme. Mr Cahill described such a move as very premature in advance of market reaction to quota abolition. He was also bitterly critical of the proposal to publish the details of payments to farmers, describing it as a very retrograde step and a clumsy attempt by the Commission to circumvent the ruling of the European Court which has already banned this measure as interference in the privacy rights to farmers.
Ends 12 October 2011
Jackie Cahill, 087-2820663
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office