Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD has said that impact assessments will be critical to ascertain the impact of the EU ‘Farm To Fork’ & ‘Biodiversity’ Strategies that have been published.

He commented, “The strategies need to be carefully examined with respect to the impact on farm incomes, the environment and the wider agri-food sector at EU and Member State level.

“Ireland exports 90% of all meat and dairy products globally. While the strategies set out targets, it will be vital to see what the impact is on Ireland as a leading low carbon sustainable food producer and what vital economic dividend this returns to rural communicates.

“The Lisbon Treaty references improving farm incomes to “ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture”. It is vital this article of the Lisbon Treaty is a guiding vision and a broad encompassing objective in the next CAP and the final implementation of these strategies.

“Farm incomes need to be safeguarded and supplemented in the next CAP if more actions will be placed on farmers at EU level. It is disappointing that the Directorate-General (DG) AGRI is not the lead Commission DG on a major EU ‘Farm to Fork’ Strategy and represents a new departure. Meanwhile, the new Agricultural Commissioner was not involved at the launch which is disappointing.

“Finally, consultation with impacted stakeholders like farmers will be vital along with carrying out the impacted assessments necessitated by both strategies,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.