Macra calls for end to historic CAP payments
'Rolling reference year is fairer'
RE-ELECTED to the post of chairman of Macra na Feirme's agricultural affairs committee recently, Kieran McEvoy has clear views on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The tillage and beef farmer from Emo, Portarlington, is strongly opposed to a flat-rate payment as he believes this system would discourage active farmers.
He also advocates a 'rolling reference year', rather than the historic basis, that would take note of farmers' current activity.
Here, in question and answer format, he sets out his stall on what shape he believes a new CAP should take.
Q What is Macra's proposal for the reform of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) after 2013?
A Macra has adopted a policy which would be beneficial to all active farmers in Ireland. Firstly, we are adamant that the level of payment to Ireland should be maintained and actually increased to account for inflation over time. Where our policy differs from others is that we are calling for the payment to individual farmers to move from a historic basis to a 'rolling reference year' basis whereby farmers would continue to be paid a SFP but based upon their current level of farming activity. The main motivation for this approach is that, over time, the historic basis for SFP becomes less equitable as farmers develop their enterprises and thus change from what they did in 2000-2002. Furthermore, the historic system does not take into account new entrants to farming who did not establish a SFP entitlement in the reference years.
Q Would Macra be in favour of a flat-rate payment?
A Macra is strongly opposed to either a flat-rate payment for Europe or a flat-rate payment for Ireland. Such a system would disadvantage Ireland as a whole and would provide no encouragement for active farmers. The 2020 Harvest Strategy outlines very ambitious targets which will require active farmers to be supported to ensure that Irish agriculture achieves its potential, and thus contributes to economic recovery. A system such as a flat-rate one would not provide an incentive to farmers to develop their enterprises.