Targeted CAP payments needed to halt tillage decline, warn growers
A targeted payment aimed at halting the decline of the crops sector will have to be a key element of Ireland's national approach in the next CAP, the Irish Grain Growers Group (IGGG) has insisted.
The total land area committed to tillage, which is estimated to be 310,000ha this year, has fallen by 20pc since the start of the decade. The area sown to cereals has seen the most dramatic reduction, falling by 30,000ha over the last three harvests alone.
Bobby Miller of the IGGG said that a targeted payment for a "ring-fenced area of tillage" was the only approach that could guarantee the survival of the sector.
"Targeted coupled payments work; the protein payment scheme proves that," Mr Miller pointed out.
He said focussed actions to stop the slide in the area of land given over to crop production was urgently needed.
"There is a growing realisation of the importance of the tillage sector for the wider agricultural industry. Tillage sector supports ultimately benefit other farming enterprises, as well as delivering environmental rewards," said Mr Miller. The IGGG position will be pressed at the forthcoming national discussions on CAP, which are being hosted by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, and will involve the farm organisations and other stakeholders in the industry.
Meanwhile, the continued reliance on direct payments will prevent a transformation towards a truly results-based CAP, a leading OECD representative has warned.
The OECD's Carmel Cahill said that achieving improvements in areas such as the environment was difficult because there was no correlation between payments and the results of actions.