What will Ireland do with CAP implementation?

Ireland’s Department of Agriculture is playing its cards close to its chest, before making any announcements about how it will implement the CAP. However, there are some signals out there, based on past behaviour, powerful lobbies and value for money considerations. So what will Ireland do?

Photo by Willie Duffin
Photo by Willie Duffin

Ireland held the EU presidency for a crucial phase of the CAP ¬†negotiations. During this time Ireland pushed hard for an alternative to flat rate payments during its EU presidency. It is thus highly likely that Ireland will adopt the slowest, longest most indirect route towards flat payments. CAP debate in Ireland was dominated by the ‘active farmer’: this was in part ¬†a way of describing a farmer who produced large amounts of commodities, but usually did so with advantages of location. It was an argument against redistribution to the poorer, disadvantaged ¬†west.

There is debate and disagreement between the main farmer organisation, the IFA (Irish Farmers’ Association) and the Minister Simon Coveney on Pillar transfers. The IFA want no more than 3% transferred, while Coveney is reported as preferring some transfers from Pillar 1 to 2 as the latter is more targeted.

According to Peter Young, CAP expert for the main Irish farming newspaper, the Irish Farmers‚Äô Journal, ‚Äúup to 15% can be transferred but if carried out, it is likely to be a lot less‚ÄĚ.

Peter Young also states that Pillar 2 payments themselves may be especially targeted in Ireland. ‚ÄúAn upland management scheme aimed primarily at commonages is one example that has already being touted. This would also see funds flow back to disadvantaged areas but it would have the added benefit of ensuring that all farmers actively keep land eligible for payment.‚ÄĚ

A cap (in this case ceiling, or upper limit) on payments to very high earners may be imposed. This populist kite flying exercise, coming as it did on day one of the  National Ploughing Championships, a massive agricultural trade show, would only affect 60 bigger farmers and agri-food businesses in Ireland. However, a point of equity would be made with such a move.

The selection of non-mandatory options under Pillar 1 is unlikely: again the whole emphasis is on maintaining direct payments to farmers. Pillar 1 options draw from the Pillar 1 overall pool, so, in the words of Teagasc Pillar 1 expert Dr. Kevin Hanrahan, at the recent National Organic Conference held in Ireland ‚ÄúNo options are more likely than lots of options‚ÄĚ.

Maximising co-funding cash from Europe may prove to be attractive, as the Irish Exchequer is still in a difficult position. Agri-environmental schemes with 75% payments are an example.¬† EIP –¬† the European Innovation Partnership – has higher rates of payment for organic farming and other similar initiatives. Nevertheless, this might been seen as damaging ‚Äėbrand Ireland‚Äô and the ‚ÄúOrigin Green‚ÄĚ initiative, by sending mixed signals to the consumer. This might reduce the likelihood of Ireland choosing these options, though this point is still debatable.

Consultations are now closed in Ireland for submissions on the CAP reform options for Ireland. The main agri-food research body in Ireland, Teagasc, provided this submission. Because of a balance between income redistribution towards a larger number of smaller farmers on the one hand, and agri-output on the other, the body failed to make strong recommendations in their submission. So instead, they outline scenarios.

Agricultural economist and the person behind the very informative capreform.eu blog, Professor Alan Matthews, provided one too, where he emphasised, among other things, utilising the option of transfers from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2, because Pillar 2 is more targeted in its delivery of public goods.

Oliver Moore
About Oliver Moore 196 Articles
Dr. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† A propos d'Oliver Moore Oliver voyage beaucoup moins qu‚Äôauparavant, pour ce qui concerne son activit√© professionnelle. Il peut n√©anmoins admirer par la fen√™tre de son bureau les m√©sanges charbonni√®res et les corbeaux perch√©s au sommet du saule dans le jardin de sa maison au cŇďur de l‚Äô√©covillage de Cloughjordan, en Irlande. L‚Äô√©covillage est un site de 67 acres dans le nord du Tipperary. Il comprend d‚Äôespaces bois√©s, des paysages comestibles, des lieux de vie, d‚Äôhabitation et de travail, ainsi qu‚Äôune ferme appartenant √† la communaut√©. Les jours o√Ļ il travaille dans le bureau du centre d‚Äôentreprise communautaire, il profite d‚Äôune vue sur les chevaux, les panneaux solaires, les toilettes s√®ches et les jardins familiaux.¬† Ce bureau au sein de l‚Äô√©covillage constitue en effet un tiers-lieu de travail accueillant √©galement des collaborateurs des associations Cultivate et Ecolise, ainsi qu‚Äôun laboratoire de fabrication (¬ę fab lab ¬Ľ).¬† Oliver est membre du conseil d‚Äôadministration de la ferme communautaire (pour la seconde fois !) et donne √©galement des cours sur le Master en coop√©ratives, agroalimentaire et d√©veloppement durable √† l‚ÄôUniversity College Cork. Il a une formation en sociologie rurale : son doctorat et les articles qu‚Äôil publie dans des journaux scientifiques portent sur ce domaine au sens large. Il consacre la majorit√© de son temps de travail √† l‚ÄôARC 2020. Il collabore avec ARC depuis 2013, date √† laquelle l‚ÄôIrlande a assur√© la pr√©sidence de l‚ÄôUE pendant six mois. C‚Äôest l√† qu‚Äôil a pu constater l‚Äôimportance de la politique agroalimentaire et rurale gr√Ęce √† sa chronique hebdomadaire sur le site d‚ÄôARC. Apr√®s six mois, il est nomm√© r√©dacteur en chef et responsable de la communication, poste qu‚Äôil occupe toujours aujourd‚Äôhui. Oliver supervise le contenu du site web et des m√©dias sociaux, aide √† d√©finir l‚Äôorientation de l‚Äôorganisation et parfois m√™me r√©dige un article pour le site web.¬† √Ä l‚Äô√©poque o√Ļ on voyageait davantage, il a eu la chance de passer du temps sous les tropiques, o√Ļ il a aid√© des ONG irlandaises de commerce √©quitable ‚Äď au Ghana, au Kenya, au Mali, en Inde et au Salvador ‚Äď √† raconter leur histoire. Il se peut que ces jours-l√† reviennent. Pour son compte Oliver continuera de pr√©f√©rer naviguer en Europe par bateau, puis en train. Apr√®s tout, la France n‚Äôest qu‚Äô√† une nuit de navigation. En attendant, il y a toujours de nombreuses possibilit√©s de b√©n√©volat dans la communaut√© dans les campagnes du centre de l‚ÄôIrlande.