Ó Cuív calls for a re­think on CAP pay­ments plan

Irish Independent - Farming - - News - Dar­ragh McCul­lough

FIANNA FÁIL’S Éa­monn Ó Cuív has chal­lenged the Min­ster for Agri­cul­ture, Si­mon Coveney, to de­fend his CAP re­form pro­pos­als.

The op­po­si­tion’s agri­cul­ture spokesman claimed that the new CAP regime could be im­ple­mented in a way that would save over 85pc of farm­ers from any cut to their Sin­gle Farm Pay­ment (SFP).

The Gal­way West TD in­sisted that it wasn’t too late to re-engi­neer how the €1.8bn in an­nual CAP pay­ments were di­vided out among farm­ers.

“The agri­cul­ture com­mit­tee were as­sured by the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture that no fi­nal de­ci­sions would be made un­til af­ter the bud­get for Pil­lar II fund­ing was re­vealed,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

“We were look­ing at a pig in a poke in terms of as­sess­ing what could be done with Pil­lar I pay­ments un­til we could see what was on the ta­ble in Pil­lar II,” he claimed.

Mr Ó Cuív is about to com­mence a na­tion­wide se­ries of meet­ings to win sup­port from farm­ers for his CAP plan.

One of the key pro­pos­als is that no farmer should be paid more than €400/ha by 2019, a full €300/ha lower than what Min­is­ter Si­mon Coveney has out­lined. “The sta­tis­tics show that there is no link be­tween pro­duc­tiv­ity and the pay­ments per hectare when the en­ti­tle­ment val­ues go above €400/ha. The no­tion that the guy with en­ti­tle­ments worth €750/ha was twice as pro­duc­tive as the guy with €350/ha is a myth,” claimed Deputy Ó Cuív.

AV­ER­AGE

The Fianna Fáil spokesman wants pay­ments re­duced from the top down, by just enough to fund the trans­fer re­quired to bring up pay­ments un­der the na­tional av­er­age to the min­i­mum of €160/ha by 2019.

“That means that all the guys on the re­ally high pay­ments bear the full brunt of the first in­crease in year one, fol­lowed by farm­ers on slightly higher pay­ments in year two and so on un­til we get to €400/ha in 2019,” ex­plained Deputy Ó Cuív.

With over 85pc of farm­ers cur­rently re­ceiv­ing less than €400/ha, Deputy Ó Cuív be­lieves this is a more eq­ui­table dis tri­b­u­tion of CAP fund­ing.

How­ever, the plan re­quires a trans­fer of €300m from Pil­lar II fund­ing.

“My plan re­quires the Gov­ern­ment to put an ex­tra €600m into Pil­lar II, which I be­lieve is pos­si­ble,” he said.

Deputy Ó Cuív claims when the carry over of €170m from the pre­vi­ous Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Plan is ex­cluded from the Gov­ern­ment’s cal­cu­la­tions for the next six years, that na­tional fund­ing only reaches 42pc of the to­tal Pil­lar II pot, in con­trast to Min­is­ter Coveney’s as­ser­tion that it is closer to 47pc.

The Gal­way TD also claimed that the new GLAS scheme would never ac­count for the €250m a year that has been al­lo­cated to it.

“There’s no way that farm­ers will be able to get the max­i­mum amount avail­able from this scheme,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

In ad­di­tion, he be­lieves that the green­ing pay­ment should be paid at a flat rate of ap­prox­i­mately €73/ha to ev­ery farmer.

Min­is­ter Coveney opted for

Ta­ble 1: His­toric pay­ments vs pro­duc­tiv­ity ‘vari­able green­ing’ where the green­ing pay­ment makes up 30pc of the farmer’s pay­ment, re­gard­less of how high their pay­ment rates are per hectare.

The first of Deputy Ó Cuív’s meet­ings com­mence t hi s Fri­day at 8.30pm in the Sta­tion House Ho­tel, Clif­den, Co Gal­way. Sub­se­quent meet­ings are sched­uled for: Tues­day, Fe­bru­ary 18 in Bal­laghadereen; Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 21 in Dun­gar­van; Tues­day, Fe­bru­ary 25 in Gort; Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 28 in Scar­riff; and Fri­day, March 7 in Bantry. THE beef and dairy in­dus­try are on the brink of mak­ing “a huge leap for­ward or los­ing the ini­tia­tive com­pletely,” ac­cord­ing to one of the beef in­dus­try’s most se­nior lead­ers.

John Hor­gan, who is the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at the bil­lion euro Meath-based pro­ces­sor, Kepak, called on AI com­pa­nies to com­mit to en­sur­ing that the new sexed se­men tech­nol­ogy was avail­able to Ir­ish farm­ers.

“We’re on the cusp now of ei­ther mak­ing a huge leap for­ward or dithering and los­ing the ini­tia­tive. The owner of the sexed se­men tech­nol­ogy wants a com­mit­ment from the in­dus­try here to buy a min­i­mum of 100,000 straws of sexed se­men an­nu­ally be­fore he com­mits to set­ting up a lab here.

“I think the AI cen­tres here are con­cerned about the im­pact this might have on their ex­ist­ing sales but I feel that this tech­nol­ogy has a key role to play in the fu­ture of the beef sec­tor, es­pe­cially with the huge in­creases in dairy cow num­bers that we’re ex­pect­ing over the com­ing years,” he said.

AL­TER­NA­TIVE PLAN: Fianna Fáil’s Ea­monn Ó Cuiv

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