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IFA president: EU Commission’s proposals ‘damaging’ for Irish agriculture

25 February 2013

Speaking from Brussels, IFA President John Bryan has warned of the devastating consequences for individual farmers and for the agri-food sector if the Single Farm Payment is redistributed on a flat rate basis, as proposed by Commissioner Ciolos.

He said: “The purpose of the Single Farm Payment is to support high quality food production. Movement to a flat rate payment per hectare, regardless of enterprise or activity, will undermine production and remove any possibility of reaching the Food Harvest 2020 growth targets.

“The Commission’s proposal for flattening and regionalisation of the Single Farm Payment is simplistic, wrong, and totally unacceptable. A flat payment will cause major disruption and loss of income and viability at farm level, damaging our most productive farmers. Ireland requires a flexible payment model that limits the loss over the longest time frame for active productive farmers. Objective criteria, such as labour units and minimum stocking rates must also be used to ensure that redistributed monies are targeted at active farmers.”

John Bryan was speaking in advance of a critical Agricultural Council of Ministers taking place on 25 February, where issues on CAP reform will be decided. Mr Bryan also made it clear to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney that Rural Development payments must be prioritised for active farmers in vulnerable sectors and regions.

European farm leaders signed a Declaration at the meeting of COPA-COGECA in Dublin on Friday, outlining the importance of a flexible payment system for Member States in the CAP Reform.

Mr Bryan said the Declaration, which has been signed by the leaders of 11 farm organisations, including the French farm organisation FNSEA and the Spanish organisations ASAJA and UPA, sends a strong message that the CAP Reform must support production at farm level.

The Declaration states that a rapid movement away from the historical reference towards a flat payment will jeopardise on-farm investment, create massive disruption at farm level and ultimately, undermine production. Any movement from the historical reference must be minimal, with adjustments to payments made over a long timeframe.
John Bryan said the Declaration also states that Member States must have the option of a flexible payment system that supports production. In addition, damaging losses at farm level must be avoided by limiting the loss in direct payments that any individual active farmer can incur through redistribution

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