More farmers would gain by switch to flat rate SFP
More farmers would benefit from a move to a flat rate method of calculating the Single Farm Payment (SFP) than would lose out, a leading Department of Agriculture official has admitted.
Aidan O'Driscoll, assistant secretary general with the Department, said the Commission's current flat rate proposals would lead to 76,400 Irish farmers receiving increased SFP payments, while 56,683 would get less.
The SFP winners could be up on average by €4,000, while the losers would see their payments drop by €5,300 on average.
However, he warned that the losers would be the most productive farmers and that some would see SFPs substantially cut.
Mr O'Driscoll was speaking at a CAP briefing to members of the Agricultural Science Association on Friday.
He said that Ireland should not only concentrate on Pillar 1 (direct payments) funding, but also examine Pillar 2 (rural development) funding in its negotiations with the Commission.
Mr O'Driscoll maintained that flexibility in how Ireland will be allowed to distribute single farm payments from 2014 onwards would be a crucial part of the Department of Agriculture's negotiations with the European Commission in the coming months.
Mairead McGuinness MEP told the conference that Ireland needs a formula that will balance the winners and losers and that the way funding is distributed between member states could be the way to do it.