Ahead of the opening day of the Ploughing Championships in Wexford tomorrow, IFA President John Bryan said the EU Commission proposals on the reform of the CAP are totally unacceptable to Ireland, as they will decimate the incomes of tens of thousands of the most productive farmers, and slash the Rural Development funding that is so critical to vulnerable sectors and regions. John Bryan delivered this message to the Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos during his visit to Ireland on Friday.
John Bryan said, “There is growing anger and frustration among farmers with Commissioner Ciolos’ intransigence on our issues to date, and unless addressed, the Commission is heading for a major confrontation with Ireland”.
“The negotiations on the CAP post-2013 are up for decision soon and the EU Budget is under threat. The Irish Government must retain 100% of Ireland’s national envelope from Europe so that the Single Farm Payment and Rural Development measures can be maintained.”
Mr Bryan described as ‘senseless’ the proposals for flat-rate payments and regionalisation, and said they were very damaging for Irish agriculture. “These proposals are a direct attack on our most productive farmers, who are the very people we are depending on to drive growth and jobs under Food Harvest 2020. Ireland must be given the flexibilities necessary to ensure the Single Farm Payment supports active, productive farmers and Rural Development measures underpin vulnerable sectors and regions.”
The IFA President said, “There is huge solidarity to fight for the future of CAP funding and the retention of farm schemes, both of which play a vital role in supporting farm production and incomes. We will be emphasising this to politicians who visit the IFA stand over the coming days. They must understand that agricultural production is at the centre of the rural economy and the evidence of this is the 1,300 trade stands that will exhibit a range of equipment and machinery in New Ross”.
Mr Bryan said, “Previous cuts to farm schemes have been totally disproportionate, and are now hitting the lowest income sector of agriculture hard. Farmers are sending a message to Minister Coveney that he cannot cut the schemes any further”. He said farm families are already finding it extremely difficult to cope with the extra costs and taxes imposed on them, which are impacting negatively on incomes and competitiveness in the private productive He said, “The consequences of the disastrous summer and the escalating input costs has put massive pressure on farm incomes, and the Government have failed totally in its promise to farmers to address the dominance of the retail multiples through effective regulation.”
The Day of Action protest in Dublin on Oct 9th – Fight for the Future of Farming - will highlight the escalating cost/price squeeze on farm incomes, and send a clear message to the Government on the need to defend the full CAP Budget in Europe and retain national funding for income-related farm schemes.
The IFA President said he was heartened by the backing from the wider agri-food industry for strong action to defend the €1.8bn EU funding for CAP and Rural Development programmes.
The IFA President said farming supports 300,000 jobs and €9bn of exports in the economy. “However, the sector will not be able to reach its growth potential if farm incomes are not defended at home and in Brussels, and unless the retailers are challenged. The future of our rural economy depends on a viable farming sector. The Day of Action on October 9th is an opportunity for all farm families to take a stand and secure their future.”
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