NFU Scotland joined with other farming bodies in Dublin last week to push for a flexible approach to CAP reform with food production at its core.

Together with other members of COPA – the umbrella organisation for farming unions in the EU – NFUS signed a declaration in support of the “Irish tunnel” subsidy payment system.

The system allows for support rates in a range, rather than at a flattened single rate, once a member state moves from an historic-based payment system to an area-based payment system.

“The agreement signed by ourselves and other farming organisations looks to build on the principle of convergence being proposed at a European member state level where the aim is to bring support payments rates closer to the EU average,” said NFUS president Nigel Miller.

“If the same principle were to be applied when an individual member state or region moves from an historic payment to an area payment it would allow for support rates to individual businesses to fall within a range rather than being flattened to a single rate, lowering the impact of redistribution.”

The system was the best way to protect many individual farm businesses from the “unintended consequences” a new regional approach to payment systems could have for some farms, added Mr Miller.

“At this late stage in the reform debate, it is still unclear what tools will be available during the new CAP period. However, the initiative that has emerged in Dublin is an important step towards securing a greater degree of flexibility,” he said.

“A package of delivery options gives us the best chance to use the Scottish budget effectively and avoid levels of support redistribution that could potentially impact on the viability of some of our most active businesses.”

NFUS signed the declaration together with farming unions from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Denmark.

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