Following the announcement of a CAP deal in Brussels last Friday that ensures a minimum convergence rate of 85%, President of the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) Colm O’Donnell has reiterated the call for the full flattening of payments through 100% convergence.
Speaking on this O’Donnell stated, “that it is now time for the Minister to bite the bullet and get convergence done.”
The major disparity in Pillar 1 payments has he added: “undermined farmer solidarity, created miss-trust amongst farmers which has weakened our lobbying power and undermining the industry.” Full convergence will he maintained “help support all farmers and prove that support through the CAP is not just for large commercial operations.”
In addition to this, it will he stressed “recognise the changing dynamic in the CAP process. A dynamic that pays farmers based on conditions under the GAEC’s and not from what was produced twenty years ago.” With these conditions the same for all farmers then it is he added: “entirely reasonable that the payment rate per hectare is also the same.”
When assessing the impact of 100% convergence the INHFA leader outlined how this will deliver for 73,000 farmers or sixty percent of those in receipt of CAP payments.
This he stressed “will provide invaluable support to many of our smaller family farm units that the CAP is designed to protect. In doing this we will also support local business and the local community.”
In addressing the concerns of smaller farm units on higher payments O’Donnell pointed to proposals in the CAP deal for a front-loaded option under the Complementary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS), which the INHFA supports. This will he stated, “allow Member States to redirect payments from those in receipt of very high CAP payments (for example €60,000 or above) to farmers such as these, by making additional payments to all farmers on the first number of hectares.”
Additional funding for the CRISS will he added “be sourced through a linear cut to Pillar 1 payments and the deal agreed on Friday provides for this with a 10% mandatory requirement.”
Concluding O’Donnell called on the Minister “to act in the best interest of Irish farmers and ensure full convergence is done through this CAP Programme.”