Pillar I fairness must be the focus of new CAP negotiations – Kenny
Speaking in Leitrim today, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Kenny TD has called for Pillar I to be the focus of the new CAP negotiations.
Deputy Kenny said:
“The Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) being negotiated must enhance the advantage of the Irish family farm model by sustaining small to medium holdings through consolidating basic farm income in Pillar I.
“The family farm production model is a significant part of the Irish food story; mainly meat and dairy produced from free-roaming animals fed on our lush green grasses. However, without targeted CAP support, that model will perish.
“Remember that almost 80% of the EU payment is delivered through Pillar I and it must be made fair this time. The use of the reference year model, using levels of output, gives advantage to large-scale farms on more fertile lands. Almost 20 years on, is not appropriate or fair. A different model must be developed and this practise must end.
“The EU Commission proposal to front-load payments in Pillar I, based on hectares, could be a major advance for the Irish smaller family farm. I would propose that the first 10 to 15 hectares needs to be paid at a high rate of at least €400 per hectare to all farmers and the next 10 to 15 hectares at a rate of at least €250 per hectare and a low rate on the remaining lands determined by remaining budget.
“This would deliver a decent base income for farm families. As the average Irish farm size is 45 hectares, the majority would gain by such a system. We need to see the 30 to 40 hectare farm, getting €8,000 to €10,000 in Pillar I as a base income that would make farming viable on these types of holdings.
“Larger farms have the advantage and will continue to have such an advantage, in a frontloaded system. Farmers on poorer land, usually engaged in cattle-rearing or sheep, should be getting a good and fair payment in Pillar I, to keep them sustainable.”