Ho­gan is­sues CAP payment ul­ti­ma­tum

Com­mis­sion won’t ap­prove state aid with­out more mea­sures for young and re­tir­ing farm­ers

Irish Independent - Farming - - FRONT PAGE - MARTIN RYAN

THE EU will with­hold CAP pay­ments from Ire­land and other mem­ber states un­less new mea­sures to sup­por t both young and older farm­ers are put in place, Agri­cul­ture Com­mis­sioner Phil Ho­gan has warned.

“T he mem­ber states will not get ap­proval for their plans in the fu­ture un­der the Com­mon Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy (CAP), and you will not get your money, un­less we have a ver y am­bi­tious pro­gramme put for ward by the Ir­ish Govern­ment in re­la­tion to help­ing young peo­ple into agri­cul­ture di­rectly or in­di­rectly,” said Com­mis­sioner Ho­gan ( pic­tured ) .

“It is not ac­cept­able that only 6pc of the Euro­pean Union’s farm­ers are un­der 40 years (of age).

“We have no (prov ision) in the CAP which re­quires young peo­ple to be di­rectly in­volved on farms or in agri-busi­ness and we have to get se­ri­ous about this,” he said.

“I know that the peo­ple are bet­ter ed­u­cated now than ever be­fore and they have op­tions other than work­ing in all weath­ers, which is not ex­actly what you will strive for when you can have a bet­ter qualit y of life in other ar­eas, but many young peo­ple want to be in­volved in agri­cul­ture and we have to prov ide them with bet­ter sup­por ts.”

And he added that fu­ture

CAP pol­icy would also re­quire a re­vamped re­tire­ment scheme for older farm­ers.

“I al­ways thought that 55 years of age was a bit early to be re­tir­ing but that is what the farm­ers were sup­posed to do a few years ago un­der the Early Farm Re­tire­ment Scheme.

“It made a mocker y of the scheme un­for tu­nately and did no good about get­ting some­thing back.

“We are tr ying to do some­thing about get­ting (a scheme) back that is rea­son­able and give peo­ple an op­por tu­nity to get a top -up to re­tire and give their sons or daugh­ters or heirs the op­por tu­nity to get more in­volved than be­fore.”

Mr Ho­gan was speak­ing at the pre­sen­ta­tion of the Paddy Fitzger­ald Memo­rial Com­mu­nity Award in Lim­er­ick last week­end.

He said that the late Paddy Fitzger­ald, an inf lu­en­tial f ig ure in the de­vel­op­ment of the IFA and marts move­ment, would “have wanted to know that the next gen­er­a­tion were be­ing looked af ter”.

“We have to en­sure that they have an in­come that they can sus­tain them­selves on their farms and we have to do so through di­rect sup­por t, mar­ket sup­por t and mar­ket op­por tu­ni­ties around the world,” he said.

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