Government facing CAP reform stance backlash
The Government and the IFA could be facing a major backlash from small farmers – especially in western seaboard counties – over their stance regarding the forthcoming reform of CAP.
Farmers at a meeting in Donegal last Thursday expressed support for the flat rate approach for Single Farm Payment (SFP) entitlements that is favoured by EU Agriculture Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos.
The meeting also heard criticism of Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and the IFA for what many felt was their support for bigger farmers at the expense of smaller farmers.
Minister Coveney and the major farm organisations have all come out against a flat rate approach to calculating SFP entitlements, arguing that such a move would seriously hit the viability of many of the most productive farms.
Almost 200 people attended the meeting in the Highland's Hotel in Glenties, Co Donegal. It was the first in a series of meetings that have been organised by Fianna Fail to outline the latest CAP proposals and the impact that they could have on farmers.
Éamon Ó Cuív, Fianna Fail spokesperson on agriculture, told the meeting that a genuine discussion on the CAP reform package was essential.
While Fianna Fail does not favour a simple flat rate approach to the SFP – that would give an average payment of €270/ha – Mr Ó Cuív pointed out that the approach would deliver higher payments to at least 70,000 farmers.
The opposition of Minister Coveney and the farm organisations to any serious redistribution of SFP funds has angered many farmers on low payments.