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Irish Farmers Association calls for in-depth analysis of EU Green Deal

04 February 2021

The President of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has called for the Minister for Agriculture to conduct an impact analysis of the EU’s Farm to Fork and biodiversity strategies to account for economic and social implications of the policies.

IFA President Tim Cullinan says that Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture and Taoiseach must move immediately to conduct an economic impact assessment of the EU Farm to Fork strategy. The strategy forms part of the European Green Deal, an EU-wide policy to combat climate change and safeguard biodiversity.

“I’m urging the Minister not to delay any longer in asking Teagasc to commence this analysis. We’ve been calling for Irish and European impact assessments of these proposals for some time now,” Cullinan said.

“The debate around ‘Farm to Fork’ proposals is happening in a vacuum. The EU has yet to produce an impact assessment of the strategy. We cannot seriously discuss the feasibility of these targets without any consideration for their impact on output or production costs,” said the IFA President.

“The European Commission is singularly focused on environmental sustainability, with little or no regard for economic sustainability or social sustainability. Sustainability requires a three-pronged approach, and to exclude or neglect any of the three will lead to the downfall of the agricultural sector.”

“The only impact assessment of the proposals so far has been conducted by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA),” added Cullinan.

The USDA report outlines the impact of the Farm to Fork strategy on farm incomes, production outputs and trade. The report says that the policy proposals would reduce farm incomes by 16 percent and decrease production outputs by 12 percent. The report predicts that the changes could make 22 million people in the world’s most vulnerable regions food-insecure due to the loss of EU production.

The USDA report also predicts an EU-wide loss in output could hit exports. Their analysis suggests that exports could fall by 20 percent and import volumes would increase by 2 percent.

“We urgently need the completion of this Irish/European economic analysis so we can better understand their impact of the ‘Farm to Fork’ proposals on farm incomes, output and trade,” Cullinan said.

Cullinan concluded by saying that the "Farm to Fork" proposals remains a “signpost” policy which requires comprehensive stakeholder consultation.



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