The Commissioner began by outlining how he intends
changing the balance in the next Common Agricultural
Policy (CAP): "We are trying to reflect the fact that farmers
and everyone else involved are finding the CAP rules very
complex and difficult. Small errors in applications can
sometimes mean 100 per cent loss of a farmer's payment,
essentially their entire income for the year. Our ambition
is to change the culture into one of helping people to work
their way through some of this bureaucracy, rather than
trying to catch them out. So the delivery model of the
CAP will have to change in the future to reflect this policy.
There should be preventative preliminary checks before
the application is lodged in the system, or a `yellow card'
system to prevent a farmer being fully penalised on a first
error. These are options to minimise the impact on farmers
of genuine errors. We will try to reduce the complexity and
number of definitions and regulations that cause confusion.
Essentially, we are moving from a compliance-based, rules-
driven approach to a performance and results-based system.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in
Ireland will have more of a say, together with the farm
organisations, in terms of the policies to be put in place in
order to meet the European Union's objectives."
A SUPPLY AND DEMAND DRIVEN DAIRY INDUSTRY
Commissioner Hogan was emphatic in calling for all
concerned in the dairy sector to adopt measures which
would take full cognisance of market forces. It was put
to him that this would be extremely difficult for Ireland,
given the momentum for growth in the sector. "We have to
be conscious of supply and demand trends and everyone
involved must act in accordance with those market forces,"
he said. "There must be support for the concept of a smart,
sustainable, market-orientated food sector. The EU cannot
be considered as just another outlet for dairy products. It
is the job of the sector to identify and sell into strong and
sustainable commercial markets. We have two priorities in
relation to our stocks of skimmed milk powder. They need
to be released onto the market in a realistic and prudent
manner and we must prevent, as far as possible, any further
build-up of intervention stocks next year. All of this involves
managing the market in the best interests of everyone,
including the producer."
This was a theme that Commissioner Hogan had prioritised
in his address to the Food Wise conference in Croke Park:
"Without the opening-up of new markets in China and
the far east, we would have a significant oversupply in
Europe. It is difficult to know what the price for farmers'
produce would have been had it not been for the opening
of these high-value export markets. We can build on these
relationships with China and Japan and other far-eastern
countries, as well as Canada and Mexico. We do have
The proposals for restructuring
the next Common Agricultural
Policy and how it interacts with
farmers are game-changing, as EU
Commissioner for Agriculture and
Rural Development, Phil Hogan,
Matt O'Keeffe after
the 'Food Wise 2017: Challenge,
Ambition, Opportunity' conference
EU Commissioner for Agriculture and
Rural Development, Phil Hogan.
Source: EC Audiovisual.