Monday 15 September 2014

Commonage Crisis

The Dept. of Agriculture appear unmoved from their opening position regarding the need for collective agreements as a requirement for joining GLAS.  All concerned should now be aware that we are very close to a point of no return, immediate and meaningful engagement between the farmers and the Dept. of Agriculture must take place in the coming days if we are to avoid doing permanent damage to hill farming.  

It is not ideal, but the work that should have been carried out over the last two years must now be completed in two weeks or less.  If it is not, GLAS risks complete failure in hill areas.
  • For the farmers this could mean a complete loss of agri-environment payments in the current round of the CAP.  If this happens how many will be there for the next CAP?
  • For the state, key objectives of the RDP would be unattainable. The programme could effectively fail before it begins. This is an appalling vista and would have far reaching consequences.
  • For farm advisors in the west, failure will destroy their business model. Investments in increasing capacity to deal with GLAS planning in commonage areas have already been put on hold and many planners, increasingly nervous about the volatility in the sector are already looking for alternatives.
All parties should recognise that while they have their own priorities, their fates are linked. They should appreciate the effect of the current situation on the morale, not just of their own sector but on the other parties as well and the risk of undesired reactions that this creates.

Everyone must accept that there will be no imposed solution, there will be no point where one group can declare victory. If an agreement is not reached that all parties can accept then GLAS will fail and the consequences will impact on everyone.

The situation demands cool heads, an ability to compromise and prompt action. The stakes have never been higher.

No comments: