Fine Gael TD for Wicklow and Chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Communications and Natural Resources, Andrew Doyle, has highlighted the suitability of Irish farming to CAP’s current strategic direction. Speaking in the Dail this week Deputy Doyle also warned against complacency in relation to CAP payments.
“In light of the ongoing negotiations which Minister Coveney is engaged in regarding CAP payments, it is important to reflect on where Ireland is positioned in relation to CAP.
“For many years, CAP was seen as an economic burden and an unnecessary sop to the European agricultural community. I am glad that at long last, the EU has recognised the true strategic value of CAP to the European Union.
“The core strategic aims of CAP, as stated by the EU Commission in November 2010 are:
- Preserving food production potential in the EU;
- Sustainable management of natural resources;
- Maintaining viable rural areas.
“Ireland firmly ticks all three of these boxes because we measure up to all of these requirements better than most. However, we cannot be complacent about this and I would urge caution about any sense of entitlement about CAP.
“CAP negotiations are one of three key areas outlined in the work programme for the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Communications and Natural Resources, which I chair.
“While welcoming the increased focus on the importance of the agri-food sector for Irish economic recovery, we need to be mindful that increased commodity prices, in particular for a primary producer, do not always mean increased profit. Serious pressures exist on farm profit margins. Many years ago, when agriculture was supposed to have been booming, a car sticker stated there was money in agriculture but not in farming. At one point, everybody made money except the farmer. That is why the profit margin for primary producers needs to be protected in CAP negotiations.
“The agriculture committee in the previous Dáil, under the chairmanship of Johnny Brady, presented 12 key recommendations which were unanimously agreed by all parties to the EU Commissioner last year. On determining national envelopes, the Committee’s report recommended: ‘Ireland should also seek, irrespective of whatever method is ultimately agreed for the determination of national envelopes, the maximum flexibility to distribute the Irish national envelope in a manner best suited to Irish circumstances.’ That sums up what we want to achieve in the Common Agricultural Policy negotiations.”