The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has told the European Union Agriculture and Fisheries Council today (Tuesday, July 25) that Ireland cannot currently support the “wording” in draft proposals to reduce the use of chemical pesticides.

The minister who attended the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting in Brussels said that Ireland supported the overall objectives of the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy which includes a proposal to set legally binding targets to “reduce the use and risk” of pesticides in the EU.

But Minister McConalogue warned that if EU targets on the sustainable use of plant protections are to be met it is “essential that viable alternatives are available within the shortest time frame possible”.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue in Brussels
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue in Brussels today Source: @McConalogue

The minister added: “It is critical that farmers have alternative options available for plant protection before legally binding national targets are implemented.

“Ireland looks forward to the opportunity for further detailed discussion on sensitive areas as set out in article 18 and article 316 of the proposal.

” Ireland cannot accept the wording as presented in the commission proposal and we will continue to work closely with other member states and with the presidency to reach an agreed alternative wording that will address the concerns raised.”

He told the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting that Ireland “has always emphasised the need for a comprehensive assessment for all EU legislative proposals”.

Minister McConalogue added: “These are not simple matters and we need to base our decisions on robust analysis.

“We now have a detailed study and I appreciate the efforts that the commission has made to add to the earlier work the study will now require full consideration as part of the considerations on the relevant chapters of the regulatory proposal and to that end I look forward to making solid progress on this file as we advance those discussions over the coming months.”

Separately the Minister for Agriculture also said that it is important to find European wide solutions to support farmers at this time.

Minister McConalogue said: “We continue to face particular uncertainty in relation to the market situation for crops, with the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including Russia’s recent withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, further compounded by recent weather events and continuing high input costs.

“It is vital to ensure that European-wide solutions, which preserve and maintain the integrity of the Single Market and which are based on close consultation, are found to address any difficulties on agricultural markets, and to address global food security concerns.”