Cowen: Agricultural aspects and ‘aligning with consumer sentiment’

New Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Barry Cowen has highlighted that he is well aware of the importance of agriculture – and outlined how he believes agriculture can “continue to thrive”.

Speaking on local midlands radio station Midlands 103, the new minister, who is from Clara, Co. Offaly, said:

“I’m well aware, living in a rural community and a rural constituency, of the impact and input agriculture makes in the local and national economy.

The best future for Irish agriculture, in my opinion, lies in us and this government aligning various aspects of agricultural production systems with consumer sentiment and environmental ambition.

“If we can bring them together and align them, there is no doubt that the agricultural sector will continue to thrive,” Minister Cowen said.

CAP ambitions need ‘appropriate budget’

The minister took part in his first EU-level meeting in his new role, with a meeting of the European Agriculture and Fisheries Council taking place yesterday, Monday, June 29.

During the meeting, Cowen took a similar line as his predecessor Michael Creed, saying that environmental measures in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) need to be matched “by an appropriate budget”.

“Ireland has always favoured a strong green ambition in the new CAP. The recent Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies have highlighted the direction of travel for European Agriculture,” the minister said.

As we move forward, if we are to deliver on the environmental ambition, we must provide the necessary financial support for farmers.

The minister also emphasised the need to “move quickly” to carry out impact assessments on the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies. He also called for “further clarity” on aspects of the CAP reform proposals for environmental objectives, including conditionality and the new eco-schemes.