CAP: ‘European tax payers don’t see the need to support intensive food production’

The family farm must be protected by ensuring it is ring-fenced from any cuts in the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) deal, according to the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA).

The proposed cut of 5% to the new CAP budget is a concern for the smaller farms “who are the lifeblood of our rural communities”, according to INHFA president Colm O’Donnell.

He added that smaller farmers are worried that they “will see further cuts to their incomes that are already under considerable pressure”.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, O’Donnell said: “I am calling on Minister Creed to commit to a front-loaded payment model, as outlined by the INHFA in our submission on CAP.

By doing so, we can protect the small to medium-sized farms which are essential to the industry and rural Ireland.

O’Donnell also added that the manner in which CAP is “sold” to the wider European public needs to be reviewed.

He said: “We are once again seeing a cut to the budget and, while Brexit is a factor, we also need to recognise that the European tax payers who are funding CAP don’t see the need to support intensive food production.

“This has been clearly expressed through their elected representatives and governments – and we would be wise to take heed.”

However, he said: “The European public and their representatives are willing to support measures that mitigate against climate change, improve on environmental outcomes and protect habitats.

These public good measures will be the future of CAP – that’s the reality, which is why we need to ensure they are to the forefront in the new CAP programme that will be implemented here in Ireland.