Commenting on the proposal put forward by the Irish Presidency in relation to CAP Post 2013, John Comer, President of ICMSA, said that while the document is an improvement on the Commission proposals, substantial changes are still required to take account of the specific concerns of Irish farmers.
Mr Comer particularly noted that the percentage reductions in relation to convergence are very significant and will see payments fall considerably, even for farmers with low overall payments. In this regard, Mr. Comer said that the Minister should look again at the position of farmers with low overall payments but with high payments per hectare and seek to minimise the impact on these farmers.
“These farmers are the bedrock of the Irish Agri-food sector, family farms dependent on farming for their income and any proposals that will undermine payments to these farmers are simply not acceptable. Under the current proposals, these farmers will see their payments decline dramatically and will also be undermined by the ‘cheque book farming’ that may arise under the current proposals. Family farms must be protected and the current proposals are deficient in this regard”, said the ICMSA President.
“Other issues that need to be resolved include the use and extent of the National Reserve: while ICMSA accepts the need for a National Reserve, it has to be remembered that farmers have already lost 16.3% of their SFP relative to their 2000-2002 payments and quite clearly further reductions could have a considerable negative impact on individual farmers. The National Reserve and other deductions will have to be kept to the absolute minimum required. The linking of future payments to the payment received by the farmer in 2013 is a major problem that will need to be addressed if we are to prevent serious disruption to the land market. ICMSA believes that the payment going forward should be linked to entitlements in order to reduce the impact on the land market. This is a simple amendment that would resolve that particular issue and it must be delivered”, said Mr Comer
While some progress has been made, Mr. Comer concluded, that the detail of this regulation could have serious negative implications for Irish family farms and major changes are required to iron out specific issues to best suit Irish circumstances before final agreement is reached.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office