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Opinion: A fairer CAP than the last when talking about farmers’ pockets

MacManus shares his views after voting in support of the CAP deal.

Although I am not fully satisfied with the new CAP, the potential benefits for small and medium farmers were too important not to support.

By voting in favour of this agreement, we lock in significant gains. In my contribution during the debate, I recalled that we must not let ‘perfect be the enemy of good’.

The fight to deliver a completely just CAP for family farmers is by no means won. However, we are much closer than when we began this process.

The CAP deal 

Without a doubt, this will be a fairer CAP than the last, when talking about farmers’ pockets.

Firstly, we are closing the gap between those on high and low per hectare payments by another 20%.

Secondly, the new CRISS mechanism sets aside 10% of payments to further reduce inequality between big and small farmers.

Thirdly, the new framework has resulted in Ireland committed to capping payments at €66,000.

It is also important to note that the new CAP again can be further improved at national level, through the designing of an ambitious national strategic plan.

Young farmers and women in farming

Taking, for example, young farmers, Sinn Féin calls for Ireland to go beyond the new minimum and set aside 4% of pillar I for young farmers as a response to the crises we are facing in generational renewal.

Also, we want a comprehensive response to address the lack of women in farming.

Certainly, the most problematic element of this reform-related not to the legislation. It is that we went into talks with a reduced budget.

No matter how good the plan is, we had one hand tied behind our back because of the refusal by EU country leaders to fund it appropriately.

Finally, this CAP has not neglected the climate crises we face and recognises that farmers will be our biggest allies in delivering a sustainable transition.

Farmers will be supported to engage in environmentally friendly practices like paludiculture and agroforestry.

Sinn Féin will now turn its attention back to Ireland to ensure Minister McConalogue finally listens to farmers

We want him to tailor a national plan to meet the needs of family farmers.

They are on the frontline of keeping quality food on our tables, particularly during this pandemic.

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