Here’s a summary of some important measures included in CAP 2014-2020
1. CAP Budget
The EU budget set aside for the CAP is divided into two pillars. Basically, Pillar I provides funding to support production and Pillar II provides financial support for rural development. The total budget for 2014-2020 amounts to €362.787 billion of which €277.851 billion is for Pillar I and €84.936 billion for Pillar II.
Ireland has set aside over €12.5 billion in Common Agricultural Policy and exchequer funding to the Irish agriculture sector for the period up to 2020.
2. Direct Payments
In CAP 2014-2020 the allocation of direct payments under Pillar I that are dedicated to coupled support, young farmers, small farmers, etc. now depend on choices made by individual Member States.
It had been proposed that Member States move towards uniform rates of payment per hectare by 2019 but Ireland has adopted a ‘partial convergence’ model.
That basically means payments will move part of the way towards a national average, rather than to uniform payments, in an effort to support productive farmers while bringing more equity and fairness into the distribution of direct payment funds.
3. Better co-ordination
CAP 2014-2020 is designed to be efficient, targeted and coherent and takes a more holistic approach to policy support than previous CAPs through better targeted funding under Pillar I complemented by the regionally tailor-made and voluntary measures of Pillar II.
Farmers can now be rewarded for services they deliver to the wider public, such as landscapes, farmland biodiversity and climate stability even though they have no market value.
The removal of constraints such as restrictions on production volumes for sugar, dairy and wine is one of the features of CAP 2014-2020 designed to help with competitiveness in the agri-food sector.
That means farmers will be able to better respond to growing world food demand and they will also benefit from improved producer cooperation supports that should also boost the competitiveness of farming by reducing costs.
Other instruments under Pillar II designed to enhance competiveness include restructuring and modernisation measures as well as start-up aid for young farmers.
Farmers are being supported under CAP 2014-2020 to adapt to climate change by taking actions such as developing greater resilience to disasters like flooding, drought and fire.
From 2015 onwards, the CAP also introduces a new policy instrument under Pillar 1, the Green Direct Payment. This accounts for 30% of the national direct payment envelope and rewards farmers for maintenance of permanent grassland, crop diversification and concentration on ecological focus areas.
At least 30% of the budget of each Rural Development Programme under Pillar 1I must also be reserved for voluntary measures that are beneficial for the environment and the fight against climate change.