Here’s a summary of how the CAP 2014-2020 will benefit Ireland
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.
The CAP will invest almost €11 billion in the Irish farming sector and rural areas for the period up to 2020. Ireland has flexibility to adapt both direct payments and rural development programmes to its specific needs
2. Direct Payments
The latest direct payments arrangements mean funding is distributed in a fairer way between regions and farmers, putting an end to 'historical references'. The €8.8 billion available for direct payments in Ireland will remain stable, despite a reduction of 3.2% at EU level.
Only farmers currently active benefit from income-support schemes and young farmers are strongly encouraged to set up in business. Irish farmers are being encouraged and supported to take simple, proven measures to promote sustainability and combat climate change.
A total of 30% of direct payments are linked to environmentally-friendly farming practices such as crop diversification, maintaining permanent grassland and conserving 5% of areas of ecological interest.
3. Food supply
Farmers have new dedicated instruments designed to help them improve the balance of the food supply chain in Ireland. That means they can be better organised to market their products more efficiently. The latest CAP will improve market orientation thanks to the abolition of remaining production constraints like sugar quotas in 2017 and milk quotas in 2015.
4. Rural development
Ireland has been allocated €2.2 billion from the CAP budget that will go towards measures that will benefit rural areas. The funding will be prioritised for projects that focus on a objectives such as promoting a low carbon economy, tackling climate change and protecting the environment. Projects that improve competitiveness of the agricultural sector and create conditions for the economic and social regeneration of rural areas will also benefit from funding.
5. Partnership agreement
The European Commission has a partnership agreement with Ireland that will benefit Irish farmers and rural communities. The agreement sees Ireland receiving €3.357 billion in total European Structural and Investment funding over 2014-2020.
The EU investment is targeted at tackling unemployment and boosting competitiveness and economic growth.
Around €2.19 billion of the funding is allocated for development of the agricultural sector and rural areas from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).