Despite the MFF announcement showing an increased allocation for CAP under both Pillar 1 and Pillar 11, the President of ICMSA, Pat McCormack said that the harsh truth is that Laois farmers and their counterparts all over Ireland are still facing a cut in their direct payments post 2020 and one would have to seriously question the commitment of the EU and our Government, to what is left of the family farm system if these proposals are accepted.
“Given the circumstances farmers find themselves in at present with Covid-19 crashing prices and markets, and the just-published Farm to Fork Strategy bringing with it new demands for higher standards, farmers will be astounded by the EU to proceed with what is in real terms a very substantial cut to CAP and to the direct payments that CAP funds.
“The cuts that this package will involve, when combined with the complete failure of the EU to ensure farmers receive a fair price from the marketplace reflective of the high standards that the EU itself insist upon, provides a very revealing picture of how farming and food-production is actually viewed by the EU.
“The very minimum that farmers were entitled to expect was a CAP that would maintain payments at existing levels to provide farmers with some level of confidence to invest in their farm businesses and stimulate badly needed investment in the rural economy,” said Mr McCormack.
“While the MFF announcement does represent an improvement on the previous CAP allocation, it still represents a substantial cut in farmers’ payments which will directly hit farm income which, in turn, will directly hit the wider rural economy.
“Our rural TDs across all political groupings need to take a stand on this matter and insist that our Government reject this completely inadequate proposal. We must insist that the EU delivers a package that at least maintains current payments and provide a badly needed confidence boost to rural areas. The EU Council meeting in mid-June is critical and farmers - and the wider rural economy that depends on farmers - expect that our Government will deliver a substantially better package.”