The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has been called upon to revisit his decision to pause internal convergence during the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) transitional period.

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice believes it is imperative to continue with the internal convergence during the CAP transitional period in order to support small family farms.

Internal convergence was given the green light as part of the CAP strategic plans by MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) in the first half of 2019.

As part of the approved proposal, member states would have to ensure that all per hectare direct payments under their remit would have to reach at least 75% of their average direct subsidies by 2026 and 100% by 2027.

Commenting on the matter, Fitzmaurice said: “Last month the minister announced his plans to place all internal convergence during the CAP transitional period on hold, indicating that there is no need to implement the measure during the transitional period to ensure its success in the new CAP programme.

“Under regulations, member states are allowed to continue with their internal convergence programme. Why the minister has decided to delay this is beyond belief.

“The idea behind internal convergence is to make direct payments to farmers fairer and more targeted.

“Internal convergence is a way of turning the tide. For too long has 80% of payments gone to 20% of farmers.

“If internal convergence is allowed to continue, it will benefit smaller holdings – which are dotted all over rural Ireland. These are family farms which have been struggling due to sustained periods of poor commodity prices.

“These are farms which are helping families put kids through college, pay mortgages and all the rest.

“It is a no-brainer for the minister to allow the internal convergence programme to continue during the CAP transition period,” Fitzmaurice concluded.

Michael Fitzmaurice 086-1914565

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