Failure to reform CAP payments will see land abandoned, warn famers18/03/2013 - 14:08:54
Land will be abandoned in rural Ireland if proposed reforms to the EU Common Agricultural Policy do not get the go-ahead, according to the group United Farmers.
The group represents more than 16,000 farmers across the country.
EU Agriculture Ministers are holding two days of crucial talks in Brussels in an attempt to hammer out a deal on agricultural policy across the EU, including the controversial cuts to CAP payments.
The Irish Farmers Association is calling on the Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to reject the proposals, saying they unfairly propose taking money away from productive farmers and distributing this payment to inactive farmers who produce little.
However, president of United Farmers Bertie Wall said the CAP payment needed to be changed so that farmers who really needed support, got it.
"The consequences for rural Ireland if this doesn't happen, would be quite disastrous," he said, "because there's already a major withdrawal from rural Ireland in terms of civil society - banks, garda statsions and post offices etc.
"If there isn’t an equitable divide, there will not be sufficient funds flowing in our rural towns and villages so there will be a massive withdrawal, even to the point where there will be land abandonment in some of the western counties."
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