‘CAP budget is key’: Cowen meets stakeholder committee

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Barry Cowen met for the first time with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Stakeholder Consultative Committee earlier this week, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The meeting was held to review progress in the development of Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan for the period 2021-2027.

Speaking following the meeting with stakeholders from across the agri-food sector, as well as environmental groups, non-government organisations (NGOs) and academics, Minister Cowen said:

This was an ideal opportunity for me to engage for the first time with the wide range of people who are contributing to the very important work of shaping how the future CAP will be implemented in Ireland.

“The new framework post-2020 will have to meet a wide range of demands from society, not just in terms of supporting farmers and sustaining rural communities, but also delivering on a higher level of environment and climate ambition.

“We all have a real stake in the outcome of this process, and the consultative committee will play a key role in shaping the new framework,” Minister Cowen added.

The minister again emphasised the important link between the CAP budget and the level of environmental ambition.

Ireland and other member states welcome the higher levels of climate and biodiversity ambition outlined in the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies – but much of the detail remains to be fleshed out, and, most crucially of all, we must secure an adequate budget to ensure that the objectives can be met.

Concluding, Minister Cowen noted that the committee has “effectively continued its activities” throughout the Covid-19 restrictions, and is now at the needs assessment phase of the CAP Strategic Plan development process.

He acknowledged the very constructive engagement that has been demonstrated by all participants to date, and he looked forward to further progress over the coming months.