The EU recovery deal brought a disappointing cut of over 11% compared to current CAP funding levels, according to ICOS European Affairs Executive Alison Graham.
As a result, direct payments in Ireland are expected to reduce from 2021, by €30 million per year, to €1.18 billion.
Considering the significant environmental objectives set by the EU to be achieved through pillar one (direct payments) support, this is an illogical and unacceptable move, said the Irish co-ops grouping spokeswoman.
“Ireland has however benefited from a top-up to its rural development funding, provided by the EU following negotiation by Irish representatives, and in recognition of substantial funding commitments already established under its rural development programme. Annual funding will increase by €37m to €352m. ICOS is now calling on the government to ensure that this funding is met with substantial national co-financing, and is used to support farmers in meeting environmental targets through well-targeted, accessible and effective schemes to help address the shortfall in direct payments.”
Ms Graham said agriculture and the agri-food industry can benefit from other budget and recovery fund programmes, such as the €5bn ring-fenced for research and innovation in agriculture. She said ICOS is seeking for the agri-food sector to be a chief beneficiary of the €5bn Brexit Adjustment Reserve, and for funding from the €17.5bn Just Transition Fund (Ireland is anticipated to have access to about €80m) to be dedicated to climate change mitigation and adaption on farms.
Ms Graham said the agri-food sector must also have access to funding from Ireland’s national spending plan for the country’s €1.3bn share of the EU recovery fund.