Farm Ireland
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Tuesday 24 April 2018

It's time to go 'green' on basic payments say farm leaders

IFA, ICMSA and ICSA unveil submissions for CAP 2020 consultations

Farm organisations unveil submissions for CAP 2020 consultations
Farm organisations unveil submissions for CAP 2020 consultations
The ICSA president Patrick Kent
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

Including 'Greening' within the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is a key element in both the IFA and ICMSA submissions on CAP 2020.

The final day for submissions from the public, stakeholders and farm organisations to the consultative process launched by the EU Commission on the future direction of CAP was recently.

All the farm organisations have called for CAP funding to be retained at current levels despite the overall EU budget coming under pressure as a result of Brexit.

The simplification of CAP schemes, increased farmer returns from the food supply chain, and an easing of the farm inspection regime are common threads across the submissions.

ICSA president Patrick Kent said "a robust set of rules to oversee the food chain, bring transparency to who gets what margins from agri-food products and an end to unfair trading practices" were core elements of the ICSA submission.

"We need also to offer farmers more opportunities from alternative income streams such as renewable energies and this needs to be made compatible with CAP," he added.

IFA proposed that the BPS should incorporate the greening element in full, with farmers required to meet environmental requirements in the areas of water, soil and biodiversity, under cross compliance and SMRs.

This view was broadly shared by ICMSA.

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However, its president John Comer called for an end to linear cuts for funding schemes like National Reserve and Young Farmers.

He said any cuts should be tiered, with the first €10,000 of every payment exempt. ICMSA has also called for the €150,000 cap on EU direct payments to be reduced.

In terms of milk price volatility, Mr Comer said ICMSA would be "pressing for the inclusion of the very successful Voluntary Milk Supply Reduction Scheme as a permanent part of the policy tool box."

Meanwhile, IFA said it is essential that the trigger levels for support mechanisms such as intervention and aid to private store are set at realistic levels to provide income support to producers when required.

The association also called for "positive simplification" on inspections. Proposals include:

Movement away from the audit inspection structure, through the increased use of technology and risk based analysis

The inspection rate across all schemes should be limited to a maximum of 1pc, with no duplication of inspections across different inspection headings

Fourteen days advance notice should be provided for all on-farm checks

Farmers selected for inspection cannot be discriminated against by delays to their payments

Where appropriate, penalties should be applied in the following year, in order that payments are not delayed.

In terms of administration of CAP, the ICSA's Patrick Kent said the essential requirement was to sort out farmer grievances about delayed payments and to minimise complexity of schemes.

"We also are insisting that Rural Development schemes have to deliver actual net gains to farmers rather than just covering costs and making money for everybody else.

"It is unacceptable to expect farmers to protect biodiversity, improve water quality, reduce emissions and sequester carbon on top of producing high quality food, and expect them to do all of this for free," Mr Kent said.


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