Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Food & Horticulture and TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill has called for the Pillar 1 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) in the next Common Agricultural Policy to be capped at €60,000 to protect small family farms.

It follows on from a recommendation from the European Commission last year which proposed a ceiling in the €60,000-€100,000 range for the CAP post 2020.

Deputy Cahill commented, “The next CAP reform should allow Member States to decide on caps for direct payments themselves.  This would allow the government here to implement the €60,000 ceiling and use the rest of the funding to target supports to vulnerable sectors.

“It has been Fianna Fáil policy for some time that the next CAP should reduce the BPS from the current ceiling of €150,000 to €60,000.  This would ensure that small and medium sized farmers are safeguarded.

“Over the past number of years we have seen farmers hit by crises in tillage and fodder, as well as severe flooding in certain parts of the country.  The government was reluctant to set up emergency funding measures, but if there was a certain section of the CAP pot set aside for vulnerable sectors or emergency situations, this would make easier for farmers to access.  We also need to see more measures aimed at attracting and retaining younger farmers to ensure the future of the industry.

“Based on latest parliamentary question reply data, over 99% of all eligible farmers (123,258) received a 2018 basic payment of under €60,000. 

“This is a common sense approach to dealing with the challenges facing small and medium farmers in Ireland.

“Fianna Fáil was the first political party in 2017 to call for a €60,000 BPS ceiling. We will continue to campaign to achieve this as a key plank of our agriculture policy in the time ahead,” concluded Deputy Cahill.