Nitrates Usage

Questions (38)

John Browne

Question:

38. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if farmers who receive a derogation on an annual basis under the nitrates directive will be eligible for the greening payment under the Common Agricultural Policy reform proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21483/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The EU Commission’s proposal on greening obliges farmers to comply with three greening criteria in order to attract the greening payment. These criteria are crop diversification, maintenance of permanent pasture and establishment of ecological focus areas. The criteria and conditions for receipt of the greening payment are still under active discussion between the EU Commission, Council of Agriculture Ministers and the European Parliament and there is no certainty as yet regarding the final outcome.

There is no reason to suppose that farmers in receipt of derogations under the nitrates directives would not be entitled to these payments, provided, of course, they met all of the conditions set. Ultimately, however, this cannot be confirmed until the negotiations are finalised.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

Questions (39)

John McGuinness

Question:

39. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of farmers who have not been paid their REP scheme 4 payments for 2012; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21476/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

There are currently a total of 30,284 participants in REPS4. To date 28,937 of these have been paid 100% of their 2012 REPS4 entitlement. A further 216 have been paid 75% of their REPS4 entitlement for 2012 and the balancing payment of 25% will be made to them within the next week. A total of approximately 1,000 participants have yet to receive any payment under REPS4.

Outstanding 2012 payments under REPS are largely due to unresolved queries associated with applications and where necessary my Department has been in contact with the applicants concerned with the intention of resolving outstanding issues and issuing payment as soon as possible. I am conscious of the importance of these payments to farmers' incomes and my Department is making every effort to assist farmers in regularising their applications and claims for payment. Additional resources have been assigned to dealing with all outstanding queries and payments will continue to issue on an ongoing basis as outstanding issues are resolved.

Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations

Questions (40)

Niall Collins

Question:

40. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the redistributive payment proposal from the French Government and a similar proposal included in the Council of Ministers' proposals are till on the table; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21466/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I can confirm that the redistributive payment proposal is still on the table. This proposal, which gives Member States the option of using up to 30% of the national ceiling for a top-up payment to farmers on hectares up to the national average farm size or up to 30 hectares, forms part of the General Approach on CAP reform agreed by the Council of Ministers last March. This option is an add-on and not an alternative to flat rate or partial convergence.

The option did not form part of the original Commission proposal. However the European Parliament has proposed a similar option to that of the Council which would allow top-ups on up to the first 50 hectares of each farm, using up to 30% of national envelopes.

This issue will now be the subject of further negotiations between the three EU institutions in the trilogues process.

Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations

Questions (41)

Micheál Martin

Question:

41. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he discussed the Common Agricultural Policy negotiations with any European leaders recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15989/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I am in regular contact with my colleagues from other Member States and the EU institutions regarding the Common Agricultural Policy negotiations. I chaired a full discussion of the CAP reform proposals at the most recent meeting of the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers a little over two weeks ago and I had the opportunity for informal discussions with the Agriculture Commissioner and a number of Member States in the margins of that Council. Next week I will chair an orientation debate on CAP reform at the May Agriculture Council when we will explore the possibilities for reaching political agreement on this very complex dossier. I am also in regular contact with the chairman of the Agricultural Committee of the European Parliament and had a detailed discussion with him and the rapporteurs for the four main CAP reform regulations towards the end of last month.

My intention is to continue with these contacts and meetings with a view to obtaining agreement on CAP reform between the three EU institutions by the end of June.