CAP Reform for Ireland, decisions decisions

More than 100 stakeholders in the agriculture sector in Ireland have been asked to submit their views on the roll out of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Reform 2014-2020.

A consultation paper was published by the Department of Agriculture this week and is available here.

The CAP agreement comprises rules for direct payments, rural development, market supports and rules for financing and the implementation of CAP by each member state of the European Union.

A process of consultation is now currently under way to determine how to apply the reform proposals. Calls have been made for all relevant stakeholders in the agriculture sector to submit views as part of the consultation process. CAP consultation submissions should be sent by email to [email protected] The deadline is 20 September.

Here is a summary of the CAP details and options for Ireland published this week by the Agriculture Department.

Overall national budget for the SFP has been reduced to €1,217m in 2014 from €1,230m in 2013. In summary the basic payment scheme will remain the same after the following is taken away – 30 per cent for greening, 2 per cent for young farmers and three per cent for the national reserve. The options that may apply also includes redistributive payments, areas of natural constraints, coupled support and small farmers scheme.

Among the main areas up for consultation are:

Young farmers scheme
Up to two per cent can be allocated. Definition of a young farmer, is it a certain skill, qualification or family history? Maximum hectares and payment options need to be established.

Transferring CAP money
Up to 15 per cent is allowed to be transferred from payments to rural development and vice-versa per year. What percentage transferred, what schemes would be affected and will it affect all direct payments to farmers?

Redistributive payment front-loading
There is an option for Ireland to secure an additional payment to farmers re hectares. What’s the allocation going to be, up to 30 per cent is allowed.

Greening
A decision needs to made regarding if a greening payment is to be made on a flat-rate or a fixed rate. Definition of ‘greening practices’ need to be determined such as crop rotation and so on. In terms of ecological areas, what exactly are the areas that qualify and the obligations?

Small farmer scheme
There is an option for €1250 maximum payment. This needs to be evaluated.

Entitlements
A decision needs to be made regarding farmers who never held entitlements under the SFP but can prove they are active, if the payment should be based on eligible hectares, if payment should be made to ‘minimum area of production’ and definitions of this.

Permanent grassland and pasture
This focus is mainly on upland areas and if land where ‘grades’ are not permanent is eligible for direct payment. How is the department going to measure this? What about other ineligible features such as stone or brick? There is the option to apply for payment in areas of ‘natural constraint’ such as poor soil. Full analysis and criteria is required.

National reserve
Up to three per cent of monies earmarked for national reserve and young farmers. Decision needed on the amount, entitlements and definition of young farmer.

Coupled support
Will it be applied to Ireland? Percentage, limits, definitions and analysis required.

Redistribution
Internal convergence model is the preferred choice, a gradual move to a common rate by 2019. There are various options to calculate this and the impact for each individual farmer needs to be analysed. Should there be an increase of all entitlements or just the national average and how will this impact farmers.

Sugar quotas to be abolished 2017
This farming area needs to be explored and analysed

Transparency
There is an option for Ireland to published the beneficiaries (name, area, payment amounts and measures) above a certain amount (€1,250 for Member States not implementing a small farmers’ scheme, or the relevant amount fixed by Member States implementing the small farmers’ scheme). Ireland needs to consider this.

School fruit and school milk schemes
Funding cannot be used to support such schemes but can be used to aid current programmes. This is also among the options available with the allocation of money in CAP.

These are only some of the options on the table. Consultations are under way, with a deadline for submission 13 September

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