The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association is holding a number of public meetings throughout the west and northwest to inform farmers of details relating to the upcoming CAP reform. This reform will see significant changes in the make-up of schemes that will impact on farmer’s income through the coming decade.
With election candidates in each constituency invited to these meetings there is stated National President Colm O’Donnell “the need to ensure that this CAP reform becomes an election issue as it has the potential to deliver a major income boost for western farmers.” This income boost he continued “will only happen through a fairer redistribution of Pillar 1 payments and a Government commitment to ensure an annual Pillar 2 fund of at least €750m.”
Payments made through the CAP are stated O’Donnell “a vital part of farmer income that sees farmers in Connacht and Donegal receive just over €295m in Pillar 1 Payments which includes the Basic Income and Greening. While these payments have increased by over €20m through the current CAP Program there is the potential of a further increase of over €50m if we continue on the convergence model towards the full flattening of payments to €250/ha.”
While the upcoming CAP continued the farm leader “has the potential to deliver major gains for farmers in the region there is no guarantee that this will happen. Currently payments made through Pillar 1 have benefited larger land holders on better land as exemplified through the Greening payment. Here we see many farmers receive less than €50/ha for adhering to specific measures relating to climate change while others receive over €200/ha for adhering to the exact same measure. In the INHFA we are working to ensure that issues such as these are resolved but we need the support from farmers to help make this happen.”
In addressing issues around new schemes such as the proposed eco-scheme O’Donnell stated that “the conditionality around these schemes could pose problems, even for those who are farming to very high environmental standards. These issues as well as concerns on some GAEC proposals we are working through with officials in the EU Commission and are hopeful of a positive outcome.”
On Pillar 2 which covers the ANC, GLAS, Sheep Welfare and the BDGP there is he added “an opportunity to deliver significant support for our suckler and sheep sectors provided our Government is willing to back it with the required funding.”
The INHFA leader concluded by encouraging all farmers to attend stating “how a good turn-out, will send a very strong message to all election candidates who will have a major influence on the final CAP outcome.”
Public Meetings scheduled as follows:
Thursday 23rd January. Sligo/Leitrim Clayton Hotel, Sligo Town.
Tuesday 28th January. Galway West Constituency: Peacocks Hotel, Maam Cross, Co Galway
Wednesday 29th January. Roscommon/East Galway: Castlerea Mart, Co Roscommon
Friday 31st January. Mayo Constituency: Castlecourt Hotel, Westport, Co Mayo