IFA President Tim Cullinan said that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue must move immediately to follow up the commitments given by himself and the Taoiseach at last week’s IFA AGM. Both agreed to conduct an economic impact assessment of the EU Farm to Fork and biodiversity strategies.
“I’m urging the Minister not to delay any longer in asking Teagasc to commence this analysis. We’ve been calling for Irish and European impact assessments of these proposals for some time now.”
“The debate around ‘Farm to Fork’ proposals is happening in a vacuum. The EU has yet to produce an impact assessment of the strategy. We cannot seriously discuss the feasibility of these targets without any consideration for their impact on output or production costs,” said the IFA President.
“The European Commission is singularly focused on environmental sustainability, with little or no regard for economic sustainability or social sustainability. Sustainability requires a three-pronged approach, and to exclude or neglect any of the three will lead to the downfall of the agricultural sector.”
“The only impact assessment of the proposals so far has been conducted by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA),” added Cullinan.
The USDA’s report examines the impact of the EU’ Farm to Fork’ proposals on farm incomes, output and trade. The report predicts that as a result of the recommendations that farm incomes would reduce by 16% and the number of food-insecure people in the world’s most vulnerable regions would increase by 22 million because of the expected loss of production by 12% across the EU.
As a consequence of the ‘Fark to Fork’ proposals, the USDA report predicts a loss in output at an EU level would cause exports to fall by 20% and increase imports by 2%.
“We urgently need the completion of this Irish/European economic analysis so we can better understand their impact of the ‘Farm to Fork’ proposals on farm incomes, output and trade,” he said.
Cullinan concluded by saying that the ‘Farm to Fork’ proposals remains a ‘signpost’ policy which requires comprehensive stakeholder consultation.