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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Cabinet approves CAP plan

Cabinet has approved Ireland’s draft CAP Strategic Plan (CSP).

This will enable the DAFM to submit its draft plan to the European Commission ahead of the January 1st, 2022 deadline.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, and Ministers of State Senator Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon have welcomed the development.

Draft CSP 

According to McConalogue, further “detailed” engagement will take place with the European Commission in the first half of 2022.

He explained that the approval process is likely to last between six and nine months. As a result, the plan will come into effect on January 1st, 2023.

He said the CAP is a “farmer-friendly and fair” one, which will “offer confidence and clarity” around farm payments over the coming years.

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The DAFM is now putting the “final technical arrangements” in place for submitting the plan to the European Commission via its dedicated SFC IT system.

McConalogue said there is “still a lot of work” to do. However, he believes the draft plan provides a “solid foundation on which to build”.

Consultation with stakeholders 

McConalogue acknowledged agri-food stakeholders’ “hugely important” contribution in developing the draft plan.

He engaged with the national CAP stakeholder consultative committee and through various other consultative channels.

This included direct engagement with farmers through a series of mart meetings in twenty-seven locations earlier this autumn.

He said their engagement has been “vital” in ensuring that we meet the twin objectives of:

  • Ensuring the continued viability of our productive farmers;
  • Maximising the environmental sustainability of the sector.

“I have engaged and listened intently to stakeholder feedback,” he said.

“I have now responded. For example, through the expanded range of agricultural practices that can be implemented under the new eco-scheme, which will ensure access for all farmers, and through the ambition that we have shown in the proposed Pillar II Agri-Environment and Climate Measure.

“I have also sought to deliver a fair approach to the redistribution of Pillar I payments while complying with the requirements of the CAP reform agreement and the ensuing EU legislation.”

The minister also acknowledged the input of other government departments and agencies.

Furthermore, he said he looks forward to further collaboration over the coming months as the detailed aspects of the plan’s implementation are worked out.

He added that the DAFM has “remaining work“ to undertake. The minister said that this includes developing the necessary administrative and IT systems.

Environmental measures

Referring to today’s government decision, Minister of State Pippa Hackett said:

“Since I took up office in DAFM, I have seen many initiatives being put in place to deliver both for farming and the environment.”

“We’ve had the soil sampling programme, the farm environment study, the Life projects we support, and the All-Ireland pollinator plan.”

“We are also building on our EIP knowledge and experience by incorporating into it new EIPs to help breeding waders and target water quality on intensive farms.”

She said the measures will deliver results for farmers, nature, biodiversity, and climate.

Best possible way to secure farm payments

Meanwhile, Minister Heydon said today’s decision paves the way for submitting the CAP Strategic Plan to the EU Commission on time.

“Farmers depend on CAP supports. They need the certainty that their payments will be made on time when the new CAP becomes operational  in 2023.”

“There is still a lot of work to do. However, submitting the plan to the Commission on time is the best possible way to secure farm payments in 2023 and beyond. The decision government made today is an important milestone.”

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