In light of the visit of the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development to Ireland, Liam Aylward, MEP for Ireland East and Member of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development has urged the Commissioner to take this opportunity to inject some certainty and clarity into the CAP debate.

Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Ireland East MEP stated:

“I have highlighted to the Commissioner on several occasions that the CAP proposals and reform need to have Irish farmers on board and engaged with the process and not operating under the impression that the EU is about to pull the rug out from underneath them.”

“At present farmers are facing significant uncertainty and the threat of huge upheaval and change. In a sector which relies heavily on forward planning for its viability and success, farmers are unable to plan for the future due to the lack of clarity on what CAP post 2014 will mean for them individually and Irish agriculture as a whole.”

“It not apparent how CAP proposals in relation to changing from historic based payments to flat rate payments, the definition of active farmers, reference dates and greening will actually impact on Irish farmers at farm level. “There is growing worry among farmers who are currently leasing land and young farmers who currently have no entitlements about their future in farming. In Ireland close to 20% of land is rented annually and 43,000 Irish farmers are now vulnerable to “land grabbing”. The Commissioner must clarify the situation to allay the concerns of these farmers.”

“Reforming the CAP is, in theory, about rewarding active farmers, who farm in a sustainable manner delivering food security for European consumers. Irish farmers fit this criteria and the Commissioner must take the opportunity presented by his visit to Ireland to acknowledge this and give clarification on the issues of concern to Irish farmers.”