Facts and Figures on the CAP in Ireland: Where the money comes from and who gets it?
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is Europe’s answer to the need for a decent standard of living for 22 million farmers and agricultural workers and a stable, varied and safe food supply for its 500 million citizens.
As a common policy for all 28 EU countries, the CAP strengthens the competitiveness and sustainability of EU agriculture by providing Direct Payments aimed at stabilising farm revenues and finances projects responding to country-specific needs through national (or regional) Rural Development Programmes, which also cover the wider rural economy.
The CAP also provides a range of market measures, including tools to address market difficulties, and other additional elements such as quality logos, promotion for EU farm products which complete CAP action to support farmers.
The CAP budget fixed for the period from 2014-2020 provides a total of EUR €408.31 billion with €308.73 billion intended for direct payments and market measures (the so-called First Pillar) and €99.58 billion for Rural Development (the socalled Second Pillar).
In Ireland direct payments to farmers amounted to almost €1.8 billion last year.
Figures from Teagasc’s National Farm Survey 2017 show that average payments per farm represented by the survey amounted to almost €18,000, accounting for 56pc of family farm income.
Although the role of direct payments in stabilising farm income is generally welcomed, the fact that 20% of farmers receive 80% of the payments prompts accusations of "unfairness".
These numbers are a reflection of a system where payments are linked to land which is concentrated among a minority of farmers.