Ireland is the only EU member state that has not proposed supporting young farmers with specific funding for starting off in farming, the European Commission has noted in its summary overview of all CAP strategic plans and observations.
Funding levels for young farmers in Ireland beyond 2023 were also lacking, with only three CAP plans setting the level of support for young farmers at the minimum level permissible of 3%, as Ireland has done.
Ireland was one of only four EU member states to propose implementing both capping and degressivity to direct payments, with four other member states having taken the same approach to convergence as Ireland – converging direct payments by the minimum level permitted of 85% of the payment average by 2026.
Three member states are set to reach 100% convergence over the 2023-2027 period and eight plan to discontinue the entitlement direct payment system.
Ireland also allocated one of the lowest proportions of its CAP spend on coupled supports, with the Coupled Voluntary Protein Aid Scheme being the only coupled production support scheme proposed in the national plan.
Macra na Feirme has criticised the approach taken by Ireland in its CAP strategic plan, citing the higher levels of supports put forward by most other member states.
The young farmers’ group national president John Keane called on the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, to reject the plan’s generational renewable proposals, which Keane said maintained the “status quo”.
“What this demonstrates is a complete lack of interest and support for young people in Ireland who want to enter farming,” the Macra president commented.
“Once again, the Department of Agriculture has failed to support young people.
“All other EU member states are doing more to support generational renewal,” he concluded.