Single farm payments at risk claims IFA President

IFA President John Bryan said there was huge anger among farmers at last week’s IFA Leinster regional meeting in Kilkenny that they could lose 30-40% of the Single Farm Payment, unless the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney toughens his stance on CAP Reform.

IFA President John Bryan said there was huge anger among farmers at last week’s IFA Leinster regional meeting in Kilkenny that they could lose 30-40% of the Single Farm Payment, unless the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney toughens his stance on CAP Reform.

John Bryan said the 300 IFA members from across Leinster felt they had been misled, and he challenged the Minister to be straight and set out in detail the combined SFP payment losses arising from these CAP Reform proposals. He said the Minister cannot allow the sell-out of the productive sector of Irish agriculture, which will be to the forefront in delivering the Food Harvest 2020 targets.

“Ministers Coveney has to stand up to Commissioner Ciolos and tell him that Ireland needs flexibility before any CAP Reform is agreed. Under no circumstances can Ireland agree to a flat-rate payment. The Minister’s own proposal for a minimum payment system totally undermines his original position on approximation, which he promoted extensively around the country last year,” he said.

Mr Bryan said it was totally unacceptable that thousands of farmers could lose up to 40% or more on their existing SFP by 2019.

“From the outset, IFA has opposed Commissioner Ciolos’ proposals on flattening and regionalisation. Minister Coveney is conceding way too much in a bid to secure an EU deal in these negotiations. Irish farmers expect him to toughen his stance and defend their interests now in advance of any final discussions.”

John Bryan said the IFA has argued strongly that objective criteria such as stocking rates and labour units must be the basis of minimising losses for productive farmers.

“IFA is not opposed to some level of redistribution, but it must be implemented using objective criteria and targeted at active productive farmers.”

The IFA President said Minister Coveney appears to have thrown in the towel on coupled payments and as things stand in Brussels today, objective criteria seems to be forgotten about.

He said the Council’s proposal’s this week are moving too far, too quickly towards a flat payment system, and unless the Minister stands up and shouts stop, irreparable damage will be imposed on Irish agriculture.