The upcoming reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has the potential to destroy farm viability in Ireland, IFA president Tim Cullinan has warned.

Only around a third of all farms in Ireland are identified as viable by Teagasc.

Cullinan said the next CAP could doom these farms by taking payments from them to fund convergence, eco-schemes and applying more environmental restrictions.

“The reality is that direct payments from CAP are becoming less about supporting food production and farm incomes, and instead focusing more heavily on an ever-increasing environmental ambition,” he said.

These farmers cannot take any more cuts

Culinan asked who was willing to pay for the increasing demands on farmers.

“There is no extra money for the CAP and the idea that consumers will pay more is not supported by any evidence. It is clear the full cost burden will fall on farmers,” he said.

The IFA president said convergence would also have a significant impact on farmers who have above average entitlements but a small payment overall due to a limited number of hectares.

“These farmers cannot take any more cuts and it’s making more farmers unviable. The Minister must find a way of protecting active farmers in this category,” Cullinan said.

The IFA has proposed conducting a full sectoral impact analysis of the convergence proposals in the next CAP.