The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, is expected to raise Irish concerns about the ongoing impact of input cost increases, and the current situation on the pigmeat market, when he attends the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels today (Monday, January 17, 2022).  

Speaking ahead of the meeting, the minister said: “Despite the strong recent performance across many markets, I remain concerned about the ongoing impact of increases in fuel, fertiliser, feed and energy prices over recent times.

“These are putting farmer margins under significant pressure. It is important to consider carefully all possible levers to ease these impacts, including the issue of anti-dumping duties on fertilisers.

“I look forward to hearing further updates on the [European] Commission’s consideration of this issue as it progresses,” the minister added.

Minister to discuss pigmeat, trade and animal welfare

Minister McConalogue has said that he is concerned about the sustained nature of the difficulties being experienced on the pigmeat market.

“I will be asking the commission to consider the rapid deployment of appropriate market support measures. Our pig farmers have always been remarkably resilient, but I am acutely aware of the challenges they are facing at present,” the minister said.

Today’s council will also include discussions on wider trade-related agricultural issues, animal welfare and the commission’s recent Communication on Sustainable Carbon Cycles.

On trade issues, the minister said that he will highlight the need for ongoing engagement by the commission with the UK on post-Brexit trading arrangements.

He also plans to stress the need for multilateral engagement on the future application of EU environmental and other standards to imported agricultural products, in accordance with World Trade organisation (WTO) rules.

On animal welfare, Minister McConalogue will welcome the review of European animal welfare legislation, and emphasise the need for new legislation to take a considered approach, avoiding unintended consequences, including in relation to animal transport. 

On sustainable carbon cycles, the minister commented: “The commission’s communication is another important step in realising ambitious European and national climate change targets.

“However, this is a complex area, which we will need to consider carefully in order to ensure the optimum outcome. In particular, we need to work with farmers to encourage positive actions in all their farming practices, from land management to livestock production. I know Ireland can be a real leader in this space,” the minister concluded.