FINE Gael TD Noel Coonan has welcomed the agreement reached by Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney TD, on the new round of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments.
“The new CAP payments brokered by Minister Coveney represents a fantastic result for farmers in Tipperary. The agriculture ministers endorsed the principle of flexibility in the way in which direct payments are to be distributed within member states. This is known here as internal convergence. This had been the outstanding issue in the negotiations from an Irish perspective,” said the local TD.
“The agreement contains measures which include flexibility in the way in which direct payments are distributed within Member States and a redistribution of direct funding, providing important supports to disadvantaged farmers and enabling them to increase production. This represents a better distribution of funds between farmers.
“Reforms to CAP were necessary in order to respond to the future challenges for agriculture and rural areas, namely viable food production, sustainable management of natural resources and climate action.
“Pressure on agricultural income is increasing as consumers demand higher standards in production and traceability while input costs continue to rise. The reform proposals contain a strong greening element requiring many to adopt farming systems that are favourable to the environment.
“There is enormous economic and social value in keeping productive farmers at all levels of production on the land. Agricultural incomes make an important contribution to the local economy. Famers purchase goods and services and provide employment in local communities.
“For these reasons, among others, agricultural incomes across the spectrum must be supported. The proposals also make specific reference to the need to reduce the administrative cost and burden on direct supports to small farmers. Proposals to further strengthen rural development policies were agreed, providing Member States with the possibility to transfer funds from direct payments ceiling to supports directed at rural development.
“These proposals are favourable to smaller producers who in comparison to larger producers, require income support to achieve greater efficiency and are less able to adapt to market and environmental changes. This should be of benefit to families in Tipperary.
“I would like to congratulate the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, on gaining acceptance for the package of proposals put forward by the Irish Presidency. The proposals were agreed following protracted negotiations resulting in a general approach on reforms to CAP. Minister Coveney will now take these proposals to the co-decision process with the European Parliament and the Commission,” said Deputy Coonan.