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Western counties set to be the big winners from CAP convergence

Full flattening would see major transfers of direct payments from farmers in the east and south

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A full flattening of CAP payments could result in the transfer of close to €14m from Cork to Kerry over the course of the next CAP programme.

Farmers in Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Sligo, Leitrim and Clare would be the other big winners from full convergence of Pillar I payments.

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Farming Independent calculations confirm a major movement in direct payments from the south and east to farmers along the western seaboard should full flattening get the green light under the next CAP regime.

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The calculations estimate that full convergence would result in payments moving to an average of €268/ha and are based on a simple division of the total Pillar I envelope of €1.17bn by the total national eligible area of 4.37m hectares.

Twelve counties would see an increase in total payments, with 14 suffering losses.

Mayo would be the biggest beneficiary of full convergence, with the total value of Pillar I payments increasing by €15m, rising from €72m to €87m. This would be worth an additional €1,300 on average for the county's 11,300 farmers.

Kerry's farmers would receive a further €14m annually, while €12m extra would be paid to farmers in Donegal, with an additional €6.5m going to Galway.

Farmers in Sligo and Leitrim would enjoy a payments boost of €4.9m, while Clare farmers would share in an extra €3.9m. Pillar I payments to Roscommon would be €1m higher.

The big losers under full flattening would be Cork (€13.8m), Tipperary (€9.4m), Wexford (€7.7m), Kilkenny (€6.8m), Laois (€5.5m) and Meath (€5.2m).

While these figures are not definitive, they help paint a picture of future movements in terms of direct payments and the likely winners and losers from full convergence.

However, they are 'broad brushstroke' figures in that the real movement in payments will be from farmers with high payment rates per hectare to those with low payment rates per hectare, irrespective of where they farm.

The calculations are also based on the assumption that the CAP budget is retained, and that full convergence will be implemented.

While the European Parliament has called for the CAP budget to be retained, there are proposals to cut it by as much as 5pc. In addition, while full convergence is being sought by the European Parliament, it is opposed by many member states, including Ireland.

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