Impact assessments ‘critical’ to ascertain effect of EU strategies

Impact assessments will be “critical” to ascertain the effect of the EU’s Farm To Fork and Biodiversity strategies, according to Fianna Fáil spokesperson on agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

Commenting following the publication of both strategies in Brussels yesterday, Wednesday, May 20, the Donegal TD said:

“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 communities.

Noting that 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”, deputy McConalogue added:

“It is vital this article of the Lisbon Treaty is a guiding vision and a broad encompassing objective in the next CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] 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.

The TD described as “disappointing” the fact that the Directorate-General AGRI is not the lead commission directorate on the major EU Farm to Fork Strategy, adding that this “represents a new departure”.

“Meanwhile, the new agricultural commissioner was not involved at the launch, which is disappointing,” the Fianna Fáil TD noted.

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