The importance of flexibility from the European Commission and member states during the implementation of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be highlighted at a meeting of the agrifish council later today (December 12).

Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue will underline the need for this in Brussels this afternoon, and stated ahead of the meeting that the implementation of the new CAP Strategic Plan “must be farmer friendly”.

“Ireland was fortunate to be in the first batch of plans approved by the EU Commission in August this year. Preparing the CAP Strategic Plan in such a challenging timeframe was very difficult.

“There will be a need for flexibility in the early years as we introduce the processes to meet the requirements of the new delivery model,” he said.

Minister McConalogue stated that the Area Monitoring System (AMS), which will require all farmers to engage with a number of new processes, “will be a step-change for farmers and member state administrations”.

He said that this is one area where flexibility and adaptability will be needed, and that farmers must be provided with maximum clarity as they move towards a new system.

The minister added that the council will also address input cost challenges, the price and availability of fertilisers and the market situation following the Russian invasion of Ukraine at today’s meeting.

He said that although his department has taken steps to support farming families during the various difficulties in 2022, a number of challenges still stand.

“While we have moved to address the input price challenges, I remain concerned in relation to the price and availability of fertilisers, and its potential impact on the 2023 harvest,” he said.

“I will continue support measures into 2023, but this is a situation that must remain under ongoing and close scrutiny.”

Discussions on changes to EU animal welfare legislation are also on today’s agenda.

Speaking about the need for a review of these regulations, the minister stated that the current regulations have been in place for some time, but added that “it is essential that any new proposals are informed by science”.

“As new proposals are prepared, it will also be essential to avoid negative impacts on the operation of the single market,” he said.