The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) have contested the narrative that the current CAP proposals will undermine the income of Irish farmers. INHFA President Colm O’Donnell stated “how nationally under a full flattening of payments 72,710 farmers will gain, representing 60% of all farmers.”
With the EU Parliament holding their ground for the full flattening of payments it is he added “unbelievable that a Parliament in Brussels is more in touch with the needs of Irish farmers than many of the public and farming representatives here.”
A full flattening of Pillar 1 payments would see all farmers paid a national average by 2026 of €265/ha which includes the proposed eco-scheme. This stated O’Donnell “will be delivered through the convergence of payments over the lifetime of the CAP Programme.”
Another proposal outlined at EU level is the option to front-load payments through the Complementary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS). This allows Ireland to target additional payments on the first number of hectares to support small holders. To fund this a country can put a limit on the maximum payment and if required apply a cut to the overall Pillar 1 budget.
O’Donnell outlined how the INHFA are supporting this as it will benefit small holders and potentially increase the payments for farmers on the first 10-20ha to over €300/ha.
With increased focus in the new CAP on delivering improved outcomes for the environment O’Donnell stated “how many of our farmers have been doing this without the proper recognition or reward.”
It is, he added, “vital that the delivery of public goods in terms of improved water and air quality, improved biodiversity and mitigating against climate change is remunerated in the upcoming CAP. The EU’s Nature Fitness Check has established how our designated lands are delivering between €2-3 billion each year to our economy which translates into almost €3,000/ha. In the new CAP we must ensure this output is recognised in the same way that farming output is.”
Concluding, the INHFA President stressed “how despite suggestions made by some the current proposals will deliver for the vast majority of Irish farmers.”