The 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) provided Irish farmers with policy certainty and financial support to increase sustainability and enhance competitiveness. Member States and the Council of Agriculture Ministers continue to consider the EU Commission’s post CAP 2020 proposals, which were published earlier this year. Ireland is working closely with our EU colleagues to ensure that we continue to engage in policies that promote the interests of the EU agricultural sector and to ensure that these policies are strongly funded as part of the EU Budget.
Direct payments from my Department serve to support family farm income. Direct payments amounted to almost €1.8 billion last year. Figures from Teagasc’s National Farm Survey 2017 show that average payments per farm represented by the survey amounted to almost €18,000, accounting for 56% of family farm income.
In addition, Food Wise 2025, the ten year strategy for the Agri-food sector, identifies the opportunities and challenges facing the entire sector and provides an enabling strategy that will allow it to grow and prosper. Food Wise includes more than 400 specific recommendations, spread across the cross-cutting themes of sustainability, innovation, human capital, market development and competitiveness; as well as specific sectoral recommendations. The implementation process is driven by a High Level Implementation Committee, which I chair.