Independent Deputy for North Tipperary, Michael Lowry, has called on the government to immediately, and strongly, object to the proposed changes to the Common Agricultural Policy as laid down by the European Commission earlier this week.
The proposed CAP reforms are due to come into effect in January 2014 and will remain in place until 2020. The European Commission today stated that the legal proposals put forward are designed to make CAP “A more effective policy for a more competitive and sustainable agriculture and vibrant rural areas.”
Deputy Lowry refuted this claim stating that the legal reforms put forward, complicate and confuse rather than simplify CAP.
“The stated aim of this of this reform was to make the system easier to understand. The proposals put forward are being heralded as a way of streamlining our CAP system, however the reality is that the European Commission have muddied the waters with a 1,000 page document that creates more questions that answers for Irish farmers.
“It is my belief that the changes to the CAP system will have a hugely detrimental impact on Irish Agriculture which may in turn jeopardize the targets put down in the Food Harvest 2020 document. At this stage it is believed that the changes put forward, could in their current form, result in a loss of up to 50% of EU income for farmers. This is as a result to changes in how the Single Farm Payment scheme would operate and the plan on linking 30% of payments to environmental farming.
“This document creates a serious barrier to the continued growth and development of Irish agriculture and food produce as we look forward. The proposals in their current form increase the bureaucracy and red tape while at the same time limiting the payments Irish farmers are entitled to. This completely flies in the face of both European Commission’s own policy and the aims set down domestically.