President of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association, Gabriel Gilmartin today lead a delegation to a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture, to outline the ICSA position on the CAP reform proposals.
Mr Gilmartin outlined to the Committee members the key concerns of the ICSA arising from the CAP reform proposals put forward by EU Agriculture Commissioner, Dacien Ciolos.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Gilmartin said: “there is a lot of concern among our members about the implications of what Commissioner Ciolos has proposed. Cattle and sheep farmers are especially dependent on the Single Payment. In 2010, direct payments represented up to 160% of Family Farm Income on drystock farms.”
“If change must come, then change must be gradual, phased in over a long period, and in a way that does not result in significant losses for farmers who have continued to farm in a productive manner since the last reform in 2003.”
Mr Gilmartin also says the fact that the EU budget has not been finalised is severely hampering progress in the CAP negotiations. “As it stands, it seems to us that we are not on target for a deal to be done under the Irish presidency of the EU in the first half of next year. In turn, it is increasingly possible that the reform will not be in place for 2014 as planned. This raises questions about reference years.”
In conclusion, Mr Gilmartin called on member states to form alliances to ensure that Commissioner Ciolos’ proposals are significantly watered down, and said: “We need a strong campaign by the Taoiseach to get movement on the issue of the budget and we need to continue to work to reverse the more extreme elements of this CAP reform proposal.”