Farm Ireland

Friday 20 July 2018

IFA lets fly at SFP claim by Teagasc pair

Bryan slams analysis as'misleading'

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

The IFA has strongly challenged the line taken by leading Teagasc economists on the possible impact of proposed changes to the Single Farm Payment (SFP).

The farmer body association's president, John Bryan, branded as "ill-timed, divisive and misleading" comments made by Liam Dunne in last week's Farming Independent.

Mr Dunne and fellow Teagasc economist Ultan Shanahan compiled a comprehensive study on the impact of Ireland moving to a flat- rate system for computing the SFP.

Commenting on the study, Mr Dunne said Ireland needed an alternative strategy to that of simply defending the historical basis for calculating the SFP.

He also pointed out that the future emphasis of the CAP would be on the public good rather than just on production.

However, Mr Bryan claimed that the Teagasc economists' analysis "missed the point completely".

"It ignores the implications for all Irish farmers of any reduction in the Single Farm Payment due to a possible cut in the CAP budget, or a redistribution of the CAP, that will result from a flat-rate system," Mr Bryan claimed.

"The public comments also fail to recognise the importance of the CAP in providing benefits for consumers, the rural economy and the environment, through the production of high-quality, safe food, renewable energy and other public goods."

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The IFA leader said the loss of historical-based SFP payments would have a negative impact on agricultural production, exports and the national and rural economy.

He also warned that conflicting messages from politicians, policy makers and farm groups had the potential to undermine Ireland's negotiating position.

The study by Mr Dunne and Mr Shanahan found that moving to a flat area-based system for calculating the SFP would favour extensive and part-time farmers over intensive and full-time operators.

Meanwhile, Mr Bryan met with the EU Agriculture Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, in Brussels last Thursday.

He stressed the importance of the SFP for Irish farmers and reiterated the need to secure the maximum CAP budget in the upcoming negotiations on the EU financial perspectives.

"I clearly conveyed the Irish position to the new commissioner and left him in no doubt that a continuation of the Single Farm Payment is vital to securing the future of Irish agriculture," Mr Bryan said.

Irish Independent