CAP should be used to fund genuine farmers, not Larry Goodman, Coolmore or Sheiks - IFA President

IFA President Joe Healy, flanked by General Secretary Damian McDonald and IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy.
IFA President Joe Healy, flanked by General Secretary Damian McDonald and IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy.
IFA President Joe Healy
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Sheikh Mohammad, Coolmore Stud, Larry Goodman and their likes are not ‘genuine farmers’, according to IFA President Joe Healy, who said CAP funding should go to genuine farmers.

Speaking at the IFA agm today, Healy said CAP direct payments can no longer be used to fund Sheikhs and beef barons. "They should be used for farmers who are up in the middle of the night to calve cows, lamb ewes and work around the clock to harvest crops.

"I doubt think the Sheikh has much experience on the combine or with the calving jack."

He also said that no Irish Commissioner or Minister for Agriculture could ever agree to proposed cuts to the CAP.

"There is a proposed increase in the contributions from the remaining 27 Member States. Yet it provides for a lower CAP budget, which will now be less than 30pc of the overall EU budget.

"30 years ago, it was close to 60pc.

"We are told we should be grateful that the cut, this time, is only 5pc. A cut is a cut in any language.  When the EU proxy inflation rate is factored in, it’s over 15pc. It’s a savage cut.

"We need the budget increased to take account of inflation, and to compensate farmers for any further requirements imposed on them."

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He also said that while there is a lot of talk that farmers need to provide more public goods. "We already do a huge amount for the environment and biodiversity.

"However, the most important thing farmers do is to provide food."

Before CAP was introduced, EU citizens were spending approximately 30pc of their income on food. That figure is currently between 10 and 15pc. Now there is a public good."

The last CAP saw all per hectare payments being brought up to 60pc of the average under the minimum clause and internal convergence, he said, which was was funded by cutting the per hectare payments of farmers above the average, regardless of how few hectares they had.

"This had a huge negative impact on those with relatively modest farms and disproportionately impacted on the livestock, sheep and grain farmers who had built up the payments to compensate them for low commodity prices.

The latest reform proposes that ‘every-per-hectare payment’ should be brought up to 75pc of the average. The IFA strongly supports this, but it must be funded in a different way.

"It must be upwards only convergence.

"Reducing the payments of other small and medium sized farmers (the squeezed middle) who have already suffered huge cuts makes no sense.

"The next CAP cannot result in farmers who are already struggling being made unviable.

"A bigger budget would be the answer and it must be used as effectively as possible.  The new CAP proposals make strong reference that payments must go to ‘genuine farmers’."

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