CAP reform could deliver ‘major income boost’ for farmers in the west

A number of public meetings are set to be held throughout the west and north west of the country to inform farmers of details relating to the upcoming Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform.

The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has said this reform will see “significant changes” in the make-up of schemes and will impact on farmer’s income through the coming decade.

Commenting on the meetings, president of the INHFA, Colm O’Donnell, said: “There is a need to ensure that this CAP reform becomes an election issue.

It has the potential to deliver a major income boost for western farmers.

He explained: “This income boost will only happen through a fairer redistribution of Pillar I payments and a Government commitment to ensure an annual Pillar II fund of at least €750 million.”

The venues and dates of the meetings are as follows:
  • Sligo/Leitrim: Clayton Hotel, Sligo Town, tonight, Thursday, January 23;
  • Galway west: Peacocks Hotel, Maam Cross, Co. Galway, Thursday, January 28;
  • Roscommon / east Galway: Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon, Wednesday, January 29;
  • Mayo: Castlecourt Hotel, Westport, Co. Mayo, Friday, January 31.

Continuing, the INHFA president said: “Payments made through the CAP are a vital part of farmer income that sees farmers in Connacht and Donegal receive just over €295 million in Pillar I payments which includes the Basic Income and Greening.

While these payments have increased by over €20 million through the current CAP programme, there is the potential of a further increase of over €50 million if we continue on the convergence model towards the full flattening of payments to €250/ha.

“While the upcoming CAP has the potential to deliver major gains for farmers in the region, there is no guarantee that this will happen.

“Currently, payments made through Pillar I have benefited larger land holders on better land as exemplified through the Greening payment.

Here we see many farmers receive less than €50/ha for adhering to specific measures relating to climate change while others receive over €200/ha for adhering to the exact same measure.

“In the INHFA, we are working to ensure that issues such as these are resolved but we need the support from farmers to help make this happen.”

Concluding, the INHFA leader encouraged all farmers to attend. He said: “A good turn-out will send a very strong message to all election candidates who will have a major influence on the final CAP outcome.”