Here are some of the important issues the CAP addresses:
1. FOOD SECURITY
It’s easy to take food for granted in modern Ireland. Thankfully, we don’t experience food shortages here. However, throughout the world issues like climate change, oil shortages and the availability of quality land and water are challenging the planet's capacity to produce enough food for everyone.
The CAP is designed to ensure all Irish and European citizens have access to a constant, reliable supply of affordable food.
2. FOOD QUALITY:
The CAP also helps guarantee that Europe’s consumers get food that’s safe and wholesome. There are tough EU rules on the safety of food and animal feed and consumers can easily determine where the food they purchase has come from and what it contains. EU rules also guarantee that organic farming products are genuine, while the CAP offers specific encouragement for farmers to convert to organic farming as well as incentives to improve the quality of their produce. Organic farmers and food producers are encouraged to use the EU organic logo where at least 95% of the product’s ingredients have been organically produced and it complies with the rules of an official inspection scheme.
3. RURAL COMMUNITIES:
The CAP’s rural development programmes are aimed at improving the economic and social situation of rural areas.
Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (RDP) has a budget of €5.778 billion, of which €2.339 billion is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EARDF).
The main aims of the programme are to improve the competitiveness of Irish farms through support for restructuring, development and innovation and preserve and enhance the environment and biodiversity of our countryside.
4. THE ENVIORNMENT:
Under EU rules farmers must respect environmental laws and look after their land properly if they want to qualify for direct income payments – an important aspect of the CAP. Financial aid from the CAP is targeted at rural development measures that promote environmentally sustainable farming practices, like agri-environment schemes.
The agri-food sector is one of Ireland's most important industries, employing around 150,000 people. We export 85% of our food to more than 160 countries worldwide and research shows that investment in Irish agriculture produces a far bigger return than investment in other sectors. Data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows that primary agriculture accounts for around 2.5% of GDP in Ireland.