‘No free passes’ for agriculture when it comes to climate change – Creed

There are “no free passes” for agriculture – or any other sector – when it comes to the environment and climate change, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

The minister was speaking this morning as he addressed a consultative conference on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which was attended by a range of stakeholders from right across the sector.

When it comes to the reform of the CAP, the role of agriculture with regard to the environment needs to be considered, Minister Creed said.

Continuing, he added: “Farmers are told that, in addition to producing food, they are the guardians of the countryside.

“The new proposals make it clear that – across Europe – agriculture needs to bring a better focus to the protection of the environment. All European countries, including Ireland, have commitments under the Paris Accord.

“But it is not just about targets, it is about our shared values and the trust we place in the sector to achieve this.”

‘A major role’

During his opening address, Minister Creed explained that he wants to see a future CAP playing “a major role” in supporting the farm sector to contribute to climate change mitigation – as well as to improve water quality and biodiversity.

We will have to be straight and honest about this. When it comes to the environment and climate change, there can be no free passes for agriculture – or any other sector – or indeed, for any particular segment within the farming community.

“A number of weeks ago I was asked whether the CAP was the ‘Common Agricultural Policy’ or the ‘Common Environmental Policy’. The truth is that you cannot have one without the other.

“We must use the potential of the CAP to help us to deliver on our environmental ambition – not least because they are a core element of delivering on our ambition for the development of the agri-food sector,” he concluded.