Farm payments are not fair and reform is needed
REPORTS of internal dissension within Fine Gael over the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are hardly surprising. Large commercial farmers have always been the backbone of the party's support and this group stands to lose considerable sums of money from the suggested changes in EU farm policy.
At issue is the share-out of €1.2bn in EU direct payments to 130,000 farmers each year. Under the current regime, a farmer's single farm payment (SFP) is based on the output from their farm during a reference period from 2000 to 2002.
However, under changes proposed by the EU Agriculture Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, this system would be abandoned by 2019 and all farmers across Europe would be paid on a simple flat-rate system. In Ireland, that would be worth €260 per hectare, or around €100 an acre.