John Comer, the Castlebar farmer and President of ICMSA, has said that decisions taken between the EU Farm Council, EU Commission and EU Parliament over the next days will set the policy agenda that Irish farmers will be expected to operate under up to 2020 and it is absolutely essential that the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine delivers an outcome that protects the interests of farm families dependent on farming for their living. What is required for Ireland is that the necessary flexibilities are agreed that will allow the Minister to address the many anomalies thatare bound to arise in the new regime and to ensure that the financial stability of many farm families is not fatally undermined, said Mr Comer, pictured here with Commissioner Ciolos during their latest meeting.
“Let’s be clear: If the wrong decisions are taken and the necessary flexibilities not secured, there is a very real danger that the financial stability of many farm families will be so undermined that they will no longer be able to continue in farming. Quite clearly, in the context of a reduced budget agreed under the Multi-annual Financial Framework, Ireland is already facing a reduced budget allocation and the issue now is how this reduced sumis to be distributed amongst farmers. Having been in Brussels as late as last week, I am now certain that crucial decisions in terms of the Single Farm Payment, as well as Pillar II schemes such as Disadvantaged Area Payments and Agri-environment schemes and measures to address price volatility,are all likely to be decided over the next ten days and the outcome will most definitely determine the future of farm families across the country and their ability to survive into the future”, noted the ICMSA President.
“From an ICMSA perspective, the issue of the minimum payment needs to be addressed and we must ensure that the payments of those dependent on farming for their income are not seriously undermined. The issue of the Base Year to be used and the rules around ‘Greening’ must also cater tothe needs of Ireland. In relation to Pillar II, the need for an effective scheme for disadvantaged areas and a meaningful agri-environment scheme are absolute fundamental. The last year has shown the vulnerability of farming in the wetter parts of the country and Pillar II will have to play a key role in addressing this issue”, said Mr. Comer. “Finally, price volatility has not gone away and while milk price is in a strong position at present, farmers are not fools and clearly understand how vulnerable they are to price swings under the current policy regime. The current proposals on market instruments will not protect the family farm structure in Ireland and this matter will simply have to be addressed. The future structure of Irish farming is at stake over the coming days and the Minister must deliver a package to suit our needs”, concluded Mr Comer.
Ends. 13 July 2013.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office