The IFA believes that the proposed CAP strategic plan, approved by Cabinet before the Christmas recess, does not strike the right balance between environmental, economic and social sustainability.
FA President Tim Cullinan said, “The plan will affect a cohort of our most productive farmers who will see a devastating reduction in their base payment. Many beef, mutton and tillage producers who do not have off-farm income will have a hard time becoming viable. “
On December 21, the government agreed to submit Ireland’s draft CAP Strategic Plan (PSC) to the European Commission, ahead of the January 1, 2022 deadline set by EU regulations. A more detailed engagement will take place with the European Commission in the first half of 2022, and the approval process is expected to take between six and nine months, with the plan taking effect on January 1, 2023.
However, Mr Cullinan pointed out a number of issues the IFA has with the plan.
He said: “The CAP brings about a redistribution of money among farmers through convergence, Free Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS) and green programs. It’s very complex and a lot of farmers are going to take a big shock when they see their base payment cut in 2023.
“The minister could have invested more money in support programs for beef, mutton and tillage producers, but he decided not to do so. These sectors will need additional national support if they are to survive as we know them. The minister also decided to take 25 percent of each farmer’s basic payment to invest in new green programs. While we recognize his efforts to make these programs more accessible, they will cost farmers money to participate and have not been tested.
Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue negotiated flexibility at the EU level to reduce this percentage below 25 percent for countries with higher environmental spending under Pillar II of the program.
Mr. Cullinan is disappointed that the minister has not reduced the percentage. “Ireland easily qualifies for this, but the minister has chosen not to reduce the percentage despite the fact that many other countries will. We would have preferred that more of this funding was left in the basic payment where farmers must always comply with good agricultural and environmental practices.
“Overall, the plan will drive up costs for farmers at a time when huge increases in energy, feed and fertilizer costs are already hitting them. This latest CAP diverts attention from supporting food production. This is a very short-term reflection, given that the world’s population is expected to grow from 7.5 billion to around 10 billion by 2050, ”Cullinan said.