Wednesday, 6 February 2019
Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations
The Minister is basically telling us that a tendering process is in place to appoint a consultancy firm to develop the plan and that it will be the subject of consultation. There is less than a year to get the contingency plan ready and we need to act quickly to get something in place. I ask the Minister to provide detail on what is envisaged, particularly in regard to Pillar 1. Many farmers have concerns about whether regard will continue to be had to reference years that date from 20 years ago. Will that continue to be the case? Will payments be based on the level of activity engaged in almost a quarter of a century previously? A greater level of certainty is required. What will be done in regard to convergence and how quickly will that be progressed? As the Minister is aware, many farmers currently receive a very low basic payment based on what they were doing in the year 2000. Those payments must be increased in order to allow farmers to protect the family farm.
On biodiversity, the Minister mentioned the issue of greening and environmental concerns. Some farm organisations have raised, for instance, the issue of the keeping of bees as a livestock unit. Has that been considered?