Speaking following the first meeting of the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine CAP Consultative Committee, the President of ICMSA, Mr. Pat McCormack said, that generating sustainable incomes for farmers must be central to the CAP Post 2020 policy and the focus must clearly shift to supporting people who are actively involved in farming. I am very concerned, Mr. McCormack said, with the growing trend that the CAP can solve all problems and with the growing list of demands from Government and non-Government bodies in relation to CAP funds. The reality is and we need to face the reality, that the current proposal which needs to be rejected is for a reduction in the CAP budget, the budget is also falling in real terms and we simply cannot do more with less.
ICMSA, Mr. McCormack said, believes that generating sustainable incomes for farm families must be the key priority of CAP going forward. Quite clearly, the first task of Government must be to ensure that the proposed CAP budget cuts are rejected by Members States and that the budget is at least maintained at current levels. Once the budget is finalised, ICMSA believes that the Government need to set out its priorities and central to this must be sustainable farm incomes for farm families. In this regard, the convergence model has undermined many farm families dependent on farming for their income and a clear analysis of the convergence impact needs to be concluded and ensure that anomalies within the system are properly addressed in particular that people with a small overall payment but a high payment per hectare are not unfairly undermined. A clear definition of a genuine farmer is also required and, in this regard,, ICMSA believes a genuine farmers must be making an economic contribution to their local economy while the issue of crisis management be it a price shock or weather related issue needs to be adequately addressed in the reform. For too long, farmers have taken the direct hit from crisis and this cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.
Farmer frustration with bureaucracy, Mr. McCormack said, continues to grow and they are rightly concerned that growing demands will lead to further rules and regulations. Simplification has been talked about for years but in reality, for farmers, regulation be it EU or market related has become more complicated and farmers have had to bear the full cost of it as the market is not rewarding our efforts. We need to see real simplification and the price of food must price in the market requirements going forward rather than expecting farmers to pay for them.
Concluding, Mr. McCormack said, the Government must decide its CAP priorities and ICMSA believes that sustainable farm incomes must be central and warned the Government not to attempt to spread the CAP too thinly and it will fail on all fronts. The CAP can meet certain priorities but additional funding through other mechanisms will be required for other priorities, concluded Mr. McCormack.
ENDS 29 May 2019
Pat McCormack, (087) 7608958.
ICMSA Head Office: (061) 314677.