IFA President Joe Healy has said that the aspirations of the European Commission’s Green Deal must recognise that agriculture is a commercial activity which delivers jobs, food, fuel, energy and environmental services for all European citizens.
In addition, a shrinking Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget can no longer be used to address the growing number of asks placed on farmers. The measures proposed in this Green Deal Europe’s climate neutrality agenda will see new requirements, which will require an increased budget.
He added, “Farmers continue to provide premium produce to Irish and European consumers, produced to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards. This demonstrates the real success of CAP. However, with average family farm incomes in Ireland at just over €23,000 the reality is it’s hard for farmers to go greener when many of the them are already in the red”.
Joe Healy has called on the EU to defend, on the basis of science, the sustainability of its agricultural model and food production systems in the face of fast rising misinformation and bashing by those with anti-farming agendas.
Farmers are uniquely positioned as food, fuel and energy producers as well as custodians of the environment are already focused on many of the Green Deal objectives. However, the European Commission must ensure that the following actions are delivered:
- The Common Agricultural Policy budget must be increased to take account of inflation and to fully compensate farmers for any additional requirements placed upon them as a result of CAP reform or measures proposed in the Green Deal.
- The double standards in EU trade talks are ended. The European Commission are proposing to import thousands of tonnes of beef from deforested Amazonian regions of Brazil and other areas.
- Farmers must receive the full credit for carbon that is sequestered and stored in their grassland, hedgerows and forestry.
IFA has also said that any proposals regarding the use of inputs on farms, must be based on scientific evidence. We cannot have a situation where European agriculture is rendered uncompetitive while other part of the world continue to have access to best available technologies. The use of such technologies denied to European farmers are disregarded when it comes to trade talks with regions such as Mercosur and these double standards must stop.
Concluding Joe Healy has called for a full regulatory cost assessment to be completed on the proposed European Green Deal. “Everyone aggress that sustainability is important, but sustainability is also about economic and societal sustainability, as well as the environment. Therefore, the European Commission must ensure that a full analysis is completed so we understand all impacts of the proposed Green Deal for European citizens, including farmers.”