PROPOSED EU AGRICULURE RATE CHANGES WOULD HARM DOMESTIC AGRICULTURE SECTOR23rd August 2011
The EU Commission’s proposals relating to reforming the Common Agricultural Policy in 2013 have caused concern amongst the farming community.
Documents relating to CAP 2013 have recently been leaked and the details contained in the leaked documents may have serious ramifications for agriculture in Ireland. One of the proposals recommends moving to a flat rate payment system across the Eurozone by 2019 which would greatly alter the way in which the Single Farm Payment scheme operates in Ireland.
These proposed changes could have serious effects on Irish agriculture;
This essentially means that all farmers would receive a set, uniform payment per hectare. This is regardless of the quality of the land in question and disregards its productivity and capacity. At present entitlements per hectare vary according to a number of factors. It is estimated that the average price per hectare in Ireland is currently €270. A change to a flat rate system could cut our average by 8%. For farmers with high entitlements per hectare however their payments could be slashed by up to 50%.
Quite simply these cuts would strangle the most productive farmers across the constituency. Single Farm Payment is part of the lifeblood of agricultural income. It is a vital. To cut this would mean that many farmers would be forced to reduce their levels of output, destock or reduce their tillage hectares.
Minister Coveney must strenuously oppose any proposals to introduce a flat rate payment scheme. Farmers today need a flexible scheme that understands and adapts to our production patterns.
It is widely recognized that the agricultural sector is an essential part of our economic recovery. In order for it to meet the vision for Food Harvest 2020 farmers need continued support. To negatively affect the productivity of the agricultural sector will have a knock on effect on the agri-food sector, on secondary businesses in the rural economy and affect our exports. I am therefore joining with the IFA in calling for a firm and united stance in opposition to any such changes to the operation of our Single Payment scheme.