According to Minister Charlie McConalogue, over 71,000 or 58.53% of farmers will benefit from 100% convergence.
He made the revelation in response to a parliamentary question deputy Michael Healy-Rae, raised on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021.
The independent TD asked the minister to provide the number and percentage of farmers in each county who will “be better off” with a 100% convergence option versus the 85% convergence option he is proposing under the next CAP.
In response, the minister said convergence will be a mandatory provision in the CAP commencing in 2023.
Member States are required to ensure that, by 2026, all payment entitlements reach a minimum convergence level of 85%, “creating a more levelled distribution of payments”.
Also, Member States are required to set a maximum value of individual payment entitlements.
“The funding mechanism will be similar to the current system where payment entitlements with values above the average are reduced to fund convergence,” the minister explained.
In the table he provided to the minister, he outlined the number and percentage of farmers in each county that would be “comparatively better” off with a 100% convergence option versus 85%.
|County||Number of farmers better off with 100% convergence*||Percentage of farmers better off with 100% convergence*|
He said the data is a year one comparison only (2023) with BISS capped.
The minister based the data on 2020 land position and 2021 entitlements.
He said to demonstrate the potential effects of the Direct Payment components, such as convergence, it was necessary to identify a cross-sectional sample population of farmers for modelling purposes.
“The figures in the table are modelling predictions of the expected landscape in 2023,” he added.
He said it is “very important” that the deputy should note the following:
- Firstly, farmers are included in the “better off” category if they benefit by as little as €0.01. As such, he said the comparative monetary differences vary “significantly” between farmers;
- Payment entitlements are a monetary asset and are transferable between farmers via sale, lease, gift, inheritance etc. As such, transfer of entitlements routinely occurs across county borders;
- A farmer’s payment position may well change in the scheme Year 2023 based on the trading of entitlements;
- “Finally, the Direct Payments system is a layered or composite structure with interacting component parts.”
“Moving funds into one scheme will mean reducing the funding available for another.”
“All elements under the Direct Payments ceiling including convergence are inextricably linked. It is challenging to examine them in isolation.
McConalogue said his department continues to engage with farmers and our EU colleagues in analysing the impacts of all proposed changes. He said this also includes changes to convergence.
“The outcome of these continued discussions and the results of these analyses assist the decision-making process on implementing the new CAP regulations in Ireland,” he concluded.