EU proposals must be rejected

SPEAKING at a special meeting of the EU Commission Beef Management Committee and Advisory Group in Brussels on CAP 2013 reform in the beef sector, IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Michael Doran said the proposals from EU Agriculture Commissioner Ciolos will inflict major damage on the beef sector if they are not reversed.

SPEAKING at a special meeting of the EU Commission Beef Management Committee and Advisory Group in Brussels on CAP 2013 reform in the beef sector, IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Michael Doran said the proposals from EU Agriculture Commissioner Ciolos will inflict major damage on the beef sector if they are not reversed.

He said these proposals must be strongly rejected, and the level of direct payments to beef and livestock farmers must be fully protected.

He said the CAP post-2013 must maintain and guarantee the current level of direct payments to livestock producers. “Incomes of livestock farmers are at the bottom of the ladder and under no circumstances can producers incur any hit on direct payments.”

“The Irish suckler cow herd is the foundation stone of our quality beef production base and must be protected. In this regard, the outcome of the CAP 2013 negotiations must provide flexibility for a strong coupled suckler cow premium. This must be a priority for Ireland as a quality beef producer.”

Mr Doran said IFA is totally opposed to the EU move towards a flat rate per hectare payment model. He said this approach would be incredibly disruptive and damaging to livestock farmers and production.

The IFA Livestock Chairman said it is vitally important that Ireland secures maximum flexibility on the payment model in order to reflect the different circumstances at individual farm level and to ensure no farmer loses out.

He said the EU proposal to shift up to 30% of the Single Farm Payment into ‘greening’ is way too high and must be reduced. Our grass based livestock production systems in Ireland are already green and there was no basis for any change to the SFP under this heading.

On market measures, Mr Doran said the most important market instruments are import tariffs and these must be fully protected in WTO and Mercosur. “Ireland must maintain its strong opposition to Mercosur and ensure that the tariffs rates are protected.It is important that intervention and APS are retained at realistic levels in the event of a crisis in the market, and export refunds must also be protected.”

The IFA livestock leader also called for real simplification of the cross compliance and GAEC measures. In addition, he said the EU needs to introduce real measures to obtain a better functioning of the food chain with the transparency and a fairer distribution of margins.