The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has branded Ireland’s strategic plan for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)  as “premature”.

The plan received approval from Cabinet yesterday (Tuesday, December 21).

It will now be submitted to the European Commission before the January 1, 2022 deadline.

Further detailed engagement will take place with the European Commission in the first half of 2022, and the approval process is likely to last between six and nine months, with the plan coming into effect on January 1, 2023.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said this CAP is a “farmer-friendly and fair one which will offer confidence and clarity around our farm payments over the coming years”.

CAP strategic plan

ICMSA president, Pat McCormack said that the move by Cabinet to sign-off and submit the CAP Strategic Plan “looked and felt premature across a range of issues”.

He claimed that the plan was “incomplete and unsupported by either the data or the farming community”.

McCormack added that thousands of farmers are facing considerable losses under the proposed plan.

“The CAP Strategic Plan does not represent the best that could have been achieved. It needed more work and certainly ICMSA was willing to put that in, but this schedule is in keeping with the whole atmosphere around our CAP, which stressed more appearance than substance.

“It is never going to be good enough to simply take a roadshow around the country’s marts explaining your position if there’s no real attempt at listening and acknowledging where people have real problems and are suggesting real solutions,” McCormack said.

The ICMSA president said there was a rushed feel to the Irish plan “that meant that really glaring anomalies and errors had to be either ‘fixed on the fly’ or simply go unchallenged”.

“There is so much wrong that farmers were nearly confused about where to start. Much of this arises from the kind of unworkable retrofitting that happens when you try and repurpose a farming and food subsidy system into an environmental and climate change tool.

“The consultation and engagement was very disappointing and the result is a flawed CAP for Ireland that will undoubtedly undermine our family farm model of farming,” he said.

The ICMSA now intends to engage with the EU Commission in the coming months to try and improve the aspects of the plan it deems the most damaging to Irish farming.