The first step in drawing up Ireland’s dedicated strategic plan for the next CAP has begun, with the publication of an analysis of the current situation facing farmers by the Department of Agriculture.
The Department is seeking feedback on a draft strength weakness opportunity threat (SWOT) analysis, the first in a number of steps to a new farm policy.
The analysis details where Ireland stands in each of the nine focus areas for the next CAP.
The cost of complying with higher environmental and safety standards was said to be a threat
It details the well-known strengths and opportunities for agriculture, including grass-based production systems and growing demand for food produced to a high standard.
The Department identified the reactive nature of schemes to address weather-related and other crises as a weakness.
The cost of complying with higher environmental and safety standards was said to be a threat.
Supply chain value
Improving the farmer position in the value chain will be a key focus in the next CAP.
The Department identified the Irish dairy sector as strong in this regard, with its co-op structure and availability of contract prices.
Weaknesses were a lack of protected status for Irish produce, something which has been sought for beef in recent months.
The low number of producer organisations was problematic and increasing these was seen as an opportunity.
The next policy will have greater ambitions in the areas of climate change, biodiversity and natural resources, such as water and soil.
Rising agriculture emissions and expansion of the dairy herd faster than mitigation capacity were identified as a worry.
Low forestry planting rates, the cost of renewable energy projects and the economics of anaerobic digestion plants were all seen as weaknesses in addressing climate concerns.
The Teagasc climate roadmap was seen as a way this could be combated.
The SWOT analysis consultation will close on 11 October. It will be used to form a needs assessment.
The Department will then design strategies to address those needs before setting targets the interventions must meet.
The European Commission must sign off on Ireland’s overall plan, a process which looks set to be delayed due to ongoing uncertainty about the CAP budget.