Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesman Éamon Ó Cuív has told AgriLand that the current Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) Reform policies espoused by both Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and the Irish Farmers Association are locking agriculture into a time warp that will merely serve to restrict the sector’s ability to grow over the next seven years.

“To refer to the new CAP support arrangements as being the out workings of a reform process is being very disingenuous. Analysis of the current Single Farm Payment distribution trends confirm that 400 producers are being grossly overpaid in terms of their current output while an equivalent number of producers are being significantly underpaid, when the current output of their farms is considered,” he added.

“The new arrangements, which the minister and the IFA both sign up to, only serve to lock the farming industry into production trends that existed 10 years and more ago.

“In reality what we need is set of CAP measures that reflect the production practises of today. I firmly hold to the view that many of our most progressive farm businesses will lose out dramatically under the new arrangements.”

Turning to the new Pillar 2 support arrangements, Ó Cuív pointed out that they had a very strong dairy bias, from a capital spend perspective. “This is a very unbalanced approach to take, particularly as the minister has done nothing to improve DAS funding levels.”

Commenting on the proposed GLAS scheme, the Fianna Fáil agri spokseman indicated that the funding available would be less than half that on-offer under previous REPS schemes.

“I find it particularly alarming that farmers with commonage will, effectively, be barred from the new measures. This is totally unacceptable and is an issue which the Minister must address as a matter of priority.”

Ó Cuív spoke to members of the ICSA Ireland’s National Executive in Portlaoise last night. He used the opportunity to discuss the scope of Fianna Fáil’s CAP reform policies.

An ICSA spokesman told AgriLand that a robust debate took place between members of the organisation and Deputy Ó Cuív on a wide range of issues.