Ferris supports move towards fairer distribution of CAP payments
Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson, Martin Ferris TD has voiced his support for a fairer distribution of farm payments under the reformed Common Agricultural Policy.
Deputy Ferris made a statement following an update on the CAP reform negotiations by Minister Simon Coveney.
Deputy Ferris said: “The proposals for reform of the farm payments scheme have excited huge debate within the farming community. It is apparent from meetings which I have attended and meetings with farmers and members of the different farm organisations, that there is by no means the sort of hostility to the proposals to redistribute funds as might be the perception given in some quarters.
“There also appears to be the insinuation in certain quarters that some smaller operators are not really entitled to payments at all. That has been conducted in a sort of code in relation to active or productive farmers and so-called unproductive and inactive farmers.
“One person who addressed the picket on the minister’s office in Cork last weekend said that the Minister ought to remember that he is the Minister for Agriculture and not the Minister for Social Welfare.
“I doubt we will see that headline in the Farmers’ Journal, but it clearly sums up the attitude of a minority of major beneficiaries of the Single Farm Payment to thousands of other farmers.
“There is also a huge contradiction in the fact that some of the same people who are objecting to allegedly unproductive farmers receiving a more equitable share of farm payments, that would allow them to improve their productivity, have no problem in defending the large Single Farm Payment cheques that go to certain businesses.
“At present we have 243 recipients who receive more than €32 million and another 1,800 who receive over €118 million between them. Those 2,250 individuals and companies receive more in total than over 50,000 actual farmers who are on a Single Farm Payment of less than €5,000.
“The average payment for the top recipients is over €73,000 per year. For those under €5,000 the average payment is just over €2,400. In other words less than 2% of those in receipt of Single Farm Payment receive more than over 42%. How anyone can defend that or claim that it promotes the best interests of Irish farming is beyond me.
“It is a curious worldview that holds that if you were to impose a cap of €50,000 on farm payments to any one individual that it would act as a major market disincentive, whereas if you were to increase the average payment of over 50,000 farmers from €2,400 to €8,000 that it would encourage them to do less!”