Agriculture Commissioner visits Northern Ireland

Ciolos-visit-2 European Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Dacian Cioloş has visited Northern Ireland for the first time. The Commissioner met with farmers and farmer representatives and stated his belief that a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform deal could be achieved during the first half of 2013. However, due to the amount of work needed to implement new measures, 2014 may become a transition year. Cioloş visited Northern Ireland at the invitation of Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson.

With Northern Ireland’s farmers experiencing different problems to those in other countries, flexibility was key, he said. “I fully accept, for example, that differing rates of direct payment can be made available within Northern Ireland,” he stated, “depending on farm type and location, courtesy of the new CAP measures.”

The Commissioner visited a farm on the outskirts of Templepatrick and met with Ulster Farmers’ Union representatives. He also visited the Greenmount campus of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, where he participated in a question and answer session with young farmers.

Afterwards, Nicholson said that the visit had allowed stakeholders to engage directly with the Commissioner “at a crucial stage in negotiations”. The fact that concerns about CAP reform such as the greening proposals, were expressed by young farmers, “was an important message for the Commissioner and his officials to consider.” Cioloş stated: “There will be specific support measures put in place that will recognise the challanges faced by young farmers.”

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