Active farmers to get SFP priority - Coveney
Plan to fund suckler cow scheme by levy on SFP is off the agenda
Ireland should use Europe's model of "approximation" to distribute the single farm payment (SFP) to farmers post-2013, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has proposed.
The model, which was used by the European Commission to determine the agriculture budget allocation for each member state, could be used to bring all farmers' single farm payments closer to the national average payment in Ireland of €270/ha.
The current CAP reform proposals would converge all payments to the national average. However, Minister Coveney has now suggested that payments would vary within a new band above and below the €270/ha average. This band would be narrower than the current range of payments but allow greater flexibility than the fixed average proposed by Commisioner Ciolos. But details of the exact mechanism were not outlined by the minister.
Speaking at the ICMSA AGM on Saturday, Mr Coveney said Ireland would be fighting for maximum flexibility in how member states would distribute their national single farm payments.
"The area-based, flat-rate payment doesn't suit us here in Ireland," Mr Coveney said. "We want farmers to be rewarded for producing food, not for owning land," he said.
"Under the flat-rate, area-payment model, some of the most productive farmers would lose 30-50pc of their payment. But we cannot keep the current model. If we did, the single farm payment in 2017 would be based on what a farmer did in 2002-2003. That does not make sense."
If the Commission allows member states to tailor their own single payment distribution, one of a number of models being examined was approximation, he told ICMSA members.
"It moves everyone closer to the centre but it is not an equalisation of payment across all farmers," he said.