ICSA says CAP proposals need to be examined further.
ICSA president Patrick Kent has said that the new CAP reform proposals offer some scope for innovative policies but nothing will work unless the planned 5% cuts are overcome.
“The reality is that the Irish Government, along with other Member States, is going to have to make up its mind on whether it wants CAP cuts or not,” added Mr Kent.
“The reality is that the EU Commission proposals, based on a 5% cut to CAP, actually translates into a severe watering down of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) for the 2021-2027 period.”
Meanwhile, ICSA says that it will mean less agri-environment schemes, less farm development and could lead to a potentially devastating cut to the ANC payment.
“ICSA will fight against this at every turn,” Mr Kent continued.
“We must remember too that the 5% cut is much worse if we take inflation into account.”
“An earlier proposal to cap the payments at €60,000 has been watered down to a cap of €100,000 with scope to get around that with labour.
“ICSA opposes large scale payments to factory controlled feedlots. More worrying is that the higher the cap, the harder it is to protect payments to small and medium scale farmers.”
He added, “On a more positive note, the potential exists to make higher payments to sustainable cattle and sheep farmers who aim to improve soil pH while minimising overuse of nitrogen, under environment and climate change headings”.
Mr Kent also pointed to farmers having to look at more innovative ways of supporting the lower income sectors.
“It is also welcome to see that the Commission is again recognising that support for young farmers will be a lot more effective if there are retirement, partnership or mentoring options at the other end of the age scale. ICSA welcomes the flexibility on this,” he concluded.
“We welcome the measures put forward by Commissioner Hogan on Unfair Trading Practices, however, we need to go a step further and require mandatory audits of who gets what margin in the food chain.”