Agri industry unites in final CAP lobby

Leaders of the agri-industry in Ireland and Irish Farmers Association (IFA) President John Bryan are joining forces in Dublin this morning to reiterate the importance of achieving a deal on CAP Reform that supports primary production, which the IFA says is the bedrock of our largest indigenous industry, creating output of €25bn, maintaining 300,000 jobs and delivering exports earnings of €9bn.

Bryan will be joined by Jim Woulfe, Chief Executive of Dairygold; Niall Browne, managing director of Dawn Meats; Prof Gerry Boyle, director of Teagasc; Ciaran Fitzgerald, chairman of the Meat Industry Ireland; and Pat Ryan, managing director of Liffey Mills, which is part of the independent merchants Acorn Group.

“The group assembled here today have a clear, unified message: The next CAP must underpin productive agriculture to allow the sector meet its expansion targets,” the IFA President said in a statement issued this morning.

Meanwhile, this week’s special IFA executive council meeting in Dublin sent a clear warning to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney that his political reputation is on the line ahead of crucial CAP Reform discussions in Luxembourg next week.

Following the meeting, Bryan said a CAP Reform outcome that damages our most productive farmers beyond what was conceded at the Council of Ministers meeting in March would represent a sell-out of Irish farming.

“As it stands, many farmers are facing significant cuts. The minister’s primary focus must be on defending Irish farmers and refusing to accept a deal that could disrupt productive agriculture even more.”

“Since the minister took office, he has latched onto Food Harvest 2020 and promoted it heavily. If he wants to achieve the targets in that plan, then the right outcome on CAP reform must be delivered. Active, productive farmers will hold the minister responsible for defending their viability”.

The minister referred to the outcome of the March Farm Council meeting as a ‘watershed moment’ in terms of the flexibilities secured for Ireland, according to the IFA.

“If these flexibilities are lost, then it will be a watershed moment for his credibility as a negotiator. Minister Coveney must stand his ground and insist that the deal agreed at the March meeting, which did not include a minimum payment, is retained in the final outcome.

“Minister Coveney simply cannot allow a deal that will devastate productive agriculture. A mandatory minimum payment would destroy the minister’s approximation model and lead to a level of redistribution that would be hugely damaging for Irish agriculture.   IFA remains opposed to this and other measures such as flattening, regionalisation or a co-efficient,” the IFA President concluded.

The scheduled IFA and agri-industry meeting is set to take place at 10am in the Alexander Hotel, Dublin. Agriland.ie will provide live updates.

The CAP Reform programme is set to be negotiated as early as next week according to some media reports today, although this has yet to be confirmed by the Department of Agriculture and/or the European Commission.