Recent data published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) marking the 50th anniversary of Ireland joining the EEC (now EU) illustrates how all members of society have benefited directly from the CAP Programme. This is a claim made by the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) who maintain that lower food prices, relative to income, has provided a direct benefit with additional benefits evident through better societal support.
Speaking on this INHFA President Vincent Roddy detailed how Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been a major factor in shaping the Europe we have today. While CAP was, he stated “first introduced in 1962 to ensure Europe had enough food and recognised the need to support farmers as an essential component in the delivery of this, it has since developed into ensuring food is affordable for everyone.”
This he continued “is very evident in the CSO report. Here we see close to a thirty-fold increase in the average income since 1973 and while the price of food has increased, the rate is less than one third of this. On the back of this we have also seen a major reduction in the level of household income spent on food – reducing from an average of almost 40% in 1973 to 8% of current income.”
“While improvements in technologies and increased mechanisation have played a part. there is no doubt, the stability CAP supports provided has been a critical element in the subsidisation of food and improved living standards” added the INHFA leader
On the improvement in living standards we have he stated seen “a significant increase in the level of disposable income available to most people.” This he stressed “has been a major factor in the development of other industries most notably manufacturing and services. With more money to spend these industries have benefited not just in Ireland but across Europe. This in turn has helped to create further employment and additional taxes. Taxes that are instrumental in delivering improved healthcare and social protection.”
In assessing this we must he stressed “recognise how CAP isn’t just an income support for farmers but is also a critical element that has helped to underpin economic activity across western society and in doing so has helped to fund the social and healthcare services that are an integral part of our society.”
With regard to CAP support Roddy outlined the need for careful consideration around the future direction of CAP. The CAP Budget in its current form is, he stated “incapable of delivering affordable quality food produced in a sustainable manner and fully traceable while also meeting the additional societal demands around climate change and biodiversity loss.
In concluding the INHFA President pointed to the overall CAP budget stating that “while the current budget is in place until the end of 2026, it is vital that the European Union and all Governments recognise the enormous challenge and unfair burden they are placing on farmers.” On this basis it is, he added “vital that the European Union now start planning for the new CAP Programme in 2027, planning that at its core must involve a significant budget increase.”
If anymore information is needed please contact Vincent Roddy on 0879330793