CAP Check Feared to Take €100m From Irish Farmers'

IRELAND - Irish beef farmers have hit out at fresh proposals to review the Common Agricultural Policy.
calendar icon 22 November 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

They claim the CAP health check plan launched this week by agricultural commissioner Mariane Fischler Boel will hit farm incomes by €100 million.

However, British farmers do not believe the proposals go far enough.

Irish Farmers Association president Padraig Walshe speaking in Brussels said: "The proposals contained in the review of the EU Common Agricultural Policy, known as the "health check", launched by Commissioner Fischer Boel would reduce farm income in Ireland by up to €100 million per year if the compulsory modulation levy is increased from its current level of five per cent to 13 per cent by 2013.

"While the Commission is suggesting that part of this cut-back in funding of the EU Single Payment could be recycled to some farmers, this is far from clear, and such "rural development" and "agri-environment" measures are likely to impose additional costs on farmers.

"In addition to the cut in the Single Payment due to the increase in the modulation levy, many farmers most dependent on the Single Payment for their incomes, particularly cattle and sheep farmers, would also lose out from the proposal to switch from the current individual farmer payment, based on his past level of production, to an average payment across all the land of the country," he said.

Mr Walshe has now called on the Irish government to oppose the changes.

However, British National Farmers' Union President Peter Kendall said: "The great failure of the 2003 reform was to allow some governments to retain some partially decoupled support. Although the Commission has proposed severely to curtail partial decoupling in future, this does not go far enough, and we will now urge its total abolition.

"Meanwhile, the suggestion of scaling back larger single farm payments, however seductive, is also misguided. It would introduce more complexity instead of simplicity, especially as farmers would be bound to try to adjust their businesses in order to avoid its impact.

The Commission itself does not seem convinced this is the right way forward, and the NFU calls for a rethink on this issue. "The Health Check is intended to be an adjustment to the CAP, not another radical reform. The problem with the last reform in 2003 is that it made the CAP more complicated and less common. The Health Check should be an opportunity to correct those mistakes".

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