Farm Ireland

Friday 15 December 2017

ó Cuív demands a CAP on maximum payment

Eamon O Cuiv says a limit on the maximum payment per hectare should be introduced
Eamon O Cuiv says a limit on the maximum payment per hectare should be introduced
Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

A limit on the maximum payment per hectare should be introduced in the new CAP payment scheme because productivity levels do not increase once payments go above €400/ha.

The Fianna Fáil spokesman for agriculture, Eamon Ó Cuív, said that 2010 data from the Department of Agriculture showed that productivity averages for payments above €400/ha were not any higher than the average output per hectare for payments in the €300-400/ha range.

"This means that there is no justification for paying more than €350/ha and there is also no reason why we should limit the losses to farmers with huge payments per hectare to just 28pc, as suggested by Minister Coveney," said Deputy Ó Cuív.

There is a provision within the agreement to limit the losses for any individual farmer to a maximum of 30pc, but this is an optional measure that can be ignored by any member state.

A limit of €650/ha was suggested during the concluding part of the negotiations, but Department of Agriculture officials have indicated that capping payments at this level would yield less than €2millon.

The Fianna Fail politician is also pushing for the front-loading concept to be implemented at the full rate, along with minimum levels of production as a requirement to qualify for the new EU farm payments.

"CSO data shows that almost four out of every five farms in the country are less than 50ha in size, when rented land is included," claimed Deputy Ó Cuív.


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"If we front-loaded the first 32ha of every farm with an additional €155/ha, it would protect the viability of the vast majority and help prevent landowners with huge areas of land in good farming areas continue drawing down huge payments, or those in very mountainous areas suddenly getting a huge windfall on the back of this new system," he said.

"It also helps protect the incomes of a lot of farmers in counties like Kilkenny, Laois and Wexford, where the average payment per hectare is higher than the national average but the average payment per farm is still close to €10,000 because they are not farming huge areas."

Deputy Ó Cuív also called on the Department to let farmers see the results of the modelling that it has done on the various options open to the Irish administration over the next seven years.

"Farmers deserve to be able to see how the mechanics of how these ideas would work so they have the opportunity to give feedback.

"For example, I am very open-minded on the idea of coupling. But farmers need to see how it would work for themselves," Deputy ó Cuív said.

"For example, if you have a Single Farm Payment (SFP) of €10,000, a coupled payment for sucklers and sheep will take €800 off that payment straight away.

"That same farmer would need to have at least 12 suckler cows receiving €70/hd or 80 ewes getting €10/hd before he would break even. I would suggest that it would need to be even higher for it to be worthwhile for that particular farmer," said Deputy ó Cuív.


He is also pushing for farmers to be required to show a minimum level of productivity per hectare before qualifying for a payment.

"This would need to be linked to land type, such as Less Favoured Areas or mountain land. In the future, I think we'll see the Department using a much more detailed system to assess land type, but we're not there yet," he said.

"It is really important that all the land continues to be farmed, so I welcome the new minimum payment. At the same time we need a strong productive sector. But the production has to be able to pay for itself, otherwise there is no incentive to increase output," he said.

Irish Independent