CAP ‘about protecting people meaningfully farming on modest payments’

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has indicated that before any further discussions take place in relation to convergence, “the overall size of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget needs to be finalised”.

The comments follow on from this morning’s vote where the EU Agriculture Committee approved the second batch of CAP proposals to improve EU farm policy.

It gave the green light to internal convergence aiming for 75% by 2024 and 100% by 2027 and focused on the new general EU rules for direct payments and rural development after 2020.

“The overall size of the CAP budget needs to be finalised and this is where the focus of all Irish politicians should be at this time – pushing for the biggest possible CAP budget for Ireland,” ICMSA’s president Pat McCormack said.

He also pointed out that because the current CAP proposals allowed member states to decide on an individual form of payment – including full convergence – securing the maximum budget was where all the focus should be at this time.

On the full convergence model ICMSA believes that many committed family farms could lose a significant portion of their payment.

He continued: “Careful and fair analysis of all options is needed and no option should be excluded at this time. Many family farms with a small overall payment have seen their payment cut substantially because their per hectare payment was higher than the national average.”

McCormack also pointed to direct payments and said there were scenarios that were “unacceptable”.

“ICMSA does not accept a situation where a farmer with a payment of, for example, €10,000 would see his or her payment cut to increase the payment of someone with a payment of, for example, €40,000 with a very large farm,” he continued.

People must understand that this has happened and continues to happen.

McCormack concluded: “Every system of payment has advantages and disadvantages and we want a careful analysis of all options once the maximum overall CAP budget has been agreed.

“ICMSA will be advocating the interests of family farms and protecting people with modest overall payments and who are meaningfully farming the land.”