The Irish Co-operative organisation Society(ICOS) has today launched its Common Agricultural Policies post 2020 policy proposals. It focuses on the requirement for effective market management measures and long-term policy stability in the upcoming reform. Pictured above is Martin Keane (ICOS president) and MEP, Mairead Mc Guinness, discussing the suggested proposals.
Martin Keane, Current president of ICOS, when speaking about the proposals had this to say “Irish farmers and co-operatives are facing an unprecedented challenge in the coming years as a result of Brexit. With so much uncertainty as to our accessibility and position in the UK market following their exit from the EU, these proposals respond to the needs of the sector for policy stability, effective market support and increased CAP financing. These will be critical to overcoming this challenge as well as for meeting our environmental goals and customer expectations in terms of quality and traceability”.
One of the key priorities outlined in the proposals by ICOS is the maintenance of the current market orientation of the CAP. Keane backed this up by stating “Proposals to reverse this and return to permanent supply management tools, which is already being pushed for by the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee within in the Omnibus Regulation, cause great uncertainty and are not consistent with the long-term investment cycles of the agri-food sector. The future CAP must ensure long-term stability and policy predictability.”
The Irish Co-operative organisation society, ICOS, instead are pushing for maintenance and enhancement of the current market support tools, such as private storage aid and public intervention. This is suggested in order to provide an effective and adequate safety net for the market.
The proposals set out by ICOS include:
• Addressing seasonality in order to stabilise market prices, through opening Private Storage Aid support during peak season each year.
• Support for the development of a European Futures Dairy Market through more timely market data information, as well as through training and advisory services for cooperatives.
• Member States should be enabled to adopt income deferral tools and other agri-taxation measures which address volatility, such as the ICOS 555 scheme, which would allow farmers to defer a small proportion of their income in a good year and draw it down in a bad one.
• Greater promotion of EU food quality and standards worldwide to help improve market access for EU products globally.
In addition to these proposals ICOS has called for the future CAP to promote the position of farmer co-operatives in Europe. On this subject president, Martin Keane said “Co-operatives integrate the role of producer, processor and the marketer, helping to rebalance the food chain, bring viable incomes to their members and offer a level of protection from the volatility. While the current CAP promotes the role of Producer Organisations, the next reform must encourage and protect co-operatives, which are the most effective, socially responsible and sustainable form of producer organisation.”
There were additional proposals made by the group within the submission. These additional proposals are listed below:
• More effective and targeted knowledge transfer of “win-win” solutions and advisory supports for farmers are needed, to improve farm practices in areas such as nutrient management planning, cropland and grassland management, and breeding and genetics.
• To ensure the basic payment scheme supports active farmers, we are against further moves towards a flat rate per hectare payment.
• Young farmers should be better supported through targeted measures to facilitate land mobility, and training and advisory services made available for young co-operative members.
• ICOS supports the development of Financial Instruments within the Rural Development Programmes, to improve access to affordable credit, and calls for these tools to be designed in a simple, accessible and flexible manner.
• The CAP should continue to support dedicated agricultural research and innovation, while improving transparency of research results, knowledge transfer and training to increase its adoption as best practice “on the ground”.