An Irish proposal for redistribution of the single farm payment will be backed by Spain, Portugal, and Italy in CAP negotiations, according to Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.
And Mr Coveney said, “Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, and the Netherlands have a similar problem to Ireland, in that they do not want to see this dramatic redistribution of supports for farmers,” referring to the European Commission’s proposed move to a flat-rate system.
A national flat rate would result in about 76,000 Irish farmers gaining 86% on average, while about 57,000 would lose an average of 33%.
The losses would be incurred by more productive farmers — seen by the Government as undesirable when Ireland is trying to expand the agri-food sector. Ireland proposes redistribution but at a lesser level than proposed by the commission.
“We have put together a proposal which we think makes sense for Irish farming and other member states. This uses the formula the commission has proposed to solve the problem of the convergence of CAP moneys between countries and to move towards the same average payment,” he said.
Mr Coveney explained the proposal during his recent presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture.
“For example, a farmer getting between €20 to €50 per hectare under the single farm payment would gain to the tune of 200%. For someone getting a small farm payment of only €20, they would gain by 600%. These are the extremes, however. A farmer on a payment of between €100 and €150 per hectare would gain to the tune of 30%. Likewise, a farmer on €500 to €600 per hectare would lose to the tune of 13.5%. A farmer on a payment of €300 to €400 would only lose to the tune of 6%. The closer a farmer is to the average area payment, the less one loses. The further away from that average, the more one would gain or lose.”
“That seems to me to be a fair way of redistribution, which would result in an average loss of 8.8% to the losers, and an average gain of 29% to the gainers. That case can be made for a farm on the Dingle Peninsula or a lush farm in east Cork. The alternative is we have to break the country into different regions which would be difficult politically and agriculturally.”
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