Further calls for a fairer spread of CAP payments post-2020

Further calls have been made to introduce a “definite ceiling” for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments post-2020, by Sinn Fein’s Agriculture Spokesperson Martin Kenny.

The future reform of CAP after 2020 should also include a redirection of resources towards those farming small holdings, those farming in difficult conditions and to protect vulnerable farmers against the volatility of the market – as well as the climate, he added.

He believes that direct payments over €150,000 are not in the spirit of CAP.

Kenny was speaking in light of the publication of figures by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in relation to CAP beneficiaries in 2016.

The top 10 recipients of CAP payments received over €200,000 each – with two farms which were connected, either directly or indirectly, to Larry Goodman netting €217,153 and €214,275 respectively, Kenny said.

In the context of the Teagasc figures on farm incomes, showing an average earning of €24,000 per annum for farms, the top 10 CAP recipients’ figures are shocking.

“The gap between rich and poor is enormous and this kind of differential is not in the spirit of the direct farm payments, which are supposed to be creating a level playing field for farmers and to preserve and protect the agricultural sector.

“The minister told me that no one received over €150,000 in direct payments, but that the balance was made up variously of Greening, Young Farmer and Protein Aid Schemes.

“The heart of the matter, however, is that payments should be redirected to those in most need of support,” Kenny explained.

He called on the government to stand up for small farmers and to ensure that the family farm, the basic unit of the Irish farming sector for generations, is supported and helped to survive into the future.

Plans to lower BPS payment ceiling to €100,000

Recently, Fianna Fail’s Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue called for the introduction of a €60,000 ceiling for Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments.

However, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, revealed that he is committed to introducing a payment ceiling of €100,000 for BPS payments. This is in line with the programme for government he added.

Minister Creed confirmed that he will be seeking to address this matter in the context of the future reform of the CAP post-2020.