McGuinness calls on Creed to release CAP analysis results

Calls have been made for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to release preliminary results of its analysis on how the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will impact payments to Irish farmers.

MEP and First Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness, made the call to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

McGuinness highlighted that the draft legislative proposals for the new post-2020 CAP are “subject to change” pending the outcome of the European elections.

She explained: “The newly elected parliament may adopt the work undertaken by the outgoing Agriculture and Rural Development Committee or decide to start the process again and disregard the position adopted by the committee in April.

Ahead of the committee’s vote, I wrote to Minister Creed urging him to carry out an impact assessment on how implementation of convergence of payments would impact on a range of family farms.

“It’s critically important that we know the impact of such a move.”

Minister’s response

She welcomed the minister’s response to her, in which he said the department is analysing the impact of various elements of direct payments in these draft regulations – namely assessing the impacts of the amended European Commission proposals.

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The minister confirmed that preliminary modelling exercises have been carried out, with the results continuously being reviewed as negotiations on the next CAP evolve.

McGuinness wants the minister to release these figures to the public to ensure that an informed debate can take place.

Under the new CAP proposals Ireland will be required to draw up a strategic plan outlining how the CAP will be implemented in the future.

“This presents an opportunity for Ireland to develop a land use policy that takes account of sectorial issues – beef, dairy, tillage, horticulture, forestry, bio-energy and renewable production – and strikes a balance between them.

“The absence of an overall land use policy has led to a ‘silo’ approach to sectorial issues and division between regions.

A proper land use policy, drafted with sustainability issues in mind, including economic sustainability, is urgently needed.

“The rapid expansion of dairying, without any consideration of the knock-on effects on land availability, calf numbers, slurry and emissions, has resulted in an imbalance in the farm sector.”

Concluding, McGuinness said: “The value of the sector to the urban as well as the rural economy is often not appreciated.”