The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA Ireland) president Gabriel Gilmartin has said the 60 per cent minimum payment emerging from Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform negotiations represents a crude and flawed effort to redistribute CAP funds and it will be too severe on typical cattle and sheep farmers with modest payments.Speaking from Luxembourg where an ICSA delegation is closely monitoring the negotiations, Mr Gilmartin said: “The news that the minimum payment will be set at 60 per cent of the average (or close to €150/ha) means that many farmers, currently on modest payments per hectare, will have a 12 per cent or greater cut to their current payment in addition to a 2 per cent cut for the young farmer scheme and 3 per cent for the national reserve. While there is a maximum cut of 30 per cent for the farmers with the biggest payments, it is the typical cattle and sheep farmer with payments in the range €300-500 that will suffer the most.””On the other hand, the fact that it seems likely that all landowners will qualify for this minimum payment means that we are missing an opportunity for a really worthwhile increase to progressive and active farmers that could have been achieved with greater targeting.Image Shuttlestock“There is too much emphasis on levelling the field and not enough on helping those who want to help themselves. This CAP reform has been based on a flawed principle right from the start of moving all hectares to a flat rate. While we are not going to have a flat rate, the concept of a minimum of 60 per cent for all hectares regardless of farming activity is still a flawed reform,” he concluded.
Negotiations on the future of the post-2013 CAP are to resume today at the European Parliament in Brussels.