Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2020

In 1957, six countries signed the Treaty of Rome that established the EEC. The objective of the organisation was to prioritise trade among community partners while still adhering to free trade. The six countries involved - France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands - created the Common Commercial Policy (CCP) for trade which restricted international trade and lessened the barriers to trade between member states. The outline for the CAP was set out at the Stresa conference in 1958, with the six member states accepting the terms of agreement. In 1962 the policy officially came into force.

Farm Background
The objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy as defined in the Treaty of Rome were:
· To increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimum utilisation of the factors of production, in particular labour;
· Thus to ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture;
· To stabilise markets
· To assure the availability of supplies
· To ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices.
In essence these objective are as relevant today as they were in 1957. Through many different reforms since then we have reached a new stage from 2020.

The 9 objectives of the future CAP 2020 are

  • to ensure a fair income to farmers
  • to increase competiveness
  • to rebalance the power in the food chain
  • climate change action
  • environmental care
  • to preserve landscapes and biodiversity
  • to support generational renewal
  • vibrant rural areas
  • to protect food and health quality

Within these 9 objectives Ireland farmers must shape the new CAP.

ICMSA has various inputs into shaping of this policy and our submission from 2018 can be found here (PDF)

The CAP 2020 Consultation is ongoing and we are seeking the views of farmers and the general public in relation to the future direction of CAP.
There is going to be substantial demands on CAP post 2020 with many NGO groups for example seeking to impose additional demands on farmers.
Some of the main focus poits are as follows:
It isbsolutely essential that we at least maintain the existing budget. In 2016, CAP accounted for 38% of the total EU budget and recently, the EU Budget Commissioner suggested that CAP would have at least 30%. This is grossly inadequate and there must be no reduction in the overall CAP budget post 2020 including the impact of Brexit which represents a €3bn loss. Thus, to maintain the CAP Budget, the remaining Member States must increase their contribution to the EU Budget.
Market supports:
Intervention: It is essential that intervention for butter and SMP is maintained post 2020 and that the intervention price is increased and linked to the cost of milk production in the EU.
Voluntary Milk Supply Reduction Scheme: The Voluntary Milk Supply Reduction Scheme should become a permanent policy tool that is activated once milk price falls below the average cost of milk production in the EU.
Direct payments:
It is essential that there are no further reductions in BPS & Greening payments for farmers who are dependent on farming for their income. For many farmers, the convergence model has reduced their payments substantially despite the fact their overall BPS payment is small.
This needs to be addressed.
  •  Environment & other conditions: There are serious concerns that additional environmental and other requirements will be imposed on farmers on top of the current onerous requirements and it is important that farmers are able to farm within the bounderies of any potential environmental controls.
  •  Inspections. There are ongoing inspection issues and it is essential that a proper yellow card system is introduced whereby if a farmer is found to be non-compliant, that the farmer gets a period of time to rectify the problem and once resolved in that time, no penalty will be applied.
  •  Pillar II schemes: Apart from TAMS and ANC’s (formerly Disadvantaged Areas Scheme), dairy farmers have been effectively excluded from many schemes such as GLAS (options simply don’t suit many dairy farmers) while specific schemes were introduced for the suckler and sheep sectors. Important to make the point that GLAS must be made more relevant to dairy farmers post 2020.
An Early Retirement Scheme should be an option under Pillar II to encourage generational renewal.