Local Independent MEP Marian Harkin, has called for the debate on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP ) reform to be “opened up”.
Speaking, following a public meeting on the matter in Roscommon last week, the MEP for the North-West said, “a much wider debate involving many more farmers needs to take place, in order to ensure that the interests of all can be fully considered, in achieving a fair and equitable outcome to CAP reform”.
“Last week a French proposal was adopted by the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee which would mean a doubling of Single Farm Payments for the first 50 hectares of land with graduated reductions for additional acreage,” she added. “In an Irish context, this would translate to a double payment on the first 30 hectares with adjustments for further hectares. I believe that a totally flat payment throughout the country would not adequately benefit the active productive farmer, and we need to look at alternative models which would ensure a fairer distribution, and move away from the historic model linked to production in the reference years 2000/02.”
Harkin also went on to say that there was a need for greater fairness under the new deal and pointed to the pressure that was now resting upon Rural Development budgets. “While every effort is being made to secure an adequate Rural Development Budget, there are no guarantees,” she warned. “Farmers are now aware, that, reliance on rural development payments to rebalance low single farm payments, is no longer a realistic proposition and furthermore, any rural development payments must be properly targeted and adequately co-funded to help ensure the viability of active family farms.”