Speaking about the release of the EU’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies, Green Party Spokesperson on Agriculture Senator Pippa Hackett said: “It is clear that the targets set are ambitious and far-reaching. Some feel they are a stretch too far and will challenge sustainable food production, while others feel they do not go far enough. Nevertheless, they mark a sizable shift in the direction the EU wishes to take, and this is reflective of the views and concerns of European citizens, scientists, environmentalists and many farmers.
“There are suggestions that changes will also be made in areas such as public procurement, competition rules, and marketing standards, which should be welcomed by many farmers; and such changes should make it easier for sustainable, local, environmentally-conscious producers to compete, and to have their efforts recognised in the price they receive.
“However, I do understand the concerns from many within the agricultural sector, and how they might see the suggested measures as a threat to their livelihoods; but I think everyone now appreciates the need to work within ecological boundaries, and to work with nature, rather than forcing it to work for us. Therefore, farmers need to be confident that such transitions will not only be positive for climate action and biodiversity, but also farming and food production, as well as their incomes. We need all stakeholders to work together, in a collectively manner like never before, for this common goal.
“It is now essential that agriculture policy reacts in a proactive way to the climate crisis, but also the biodiversity crisis. So many analyses on biodiversity data have shown significant and catastrophic declines in insect and other animal species all over the world, and indeed in Ireland too. The environmental measures under the Common Agricultural Policy have been largely ineffective at reversing such declines, and this needs to change.
“Yes, I’m sure there will be some teething problems, and some issues to iron out, but there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the direction of agriculture needs to change, and it needs to change quickly. I am hopeful and optimistic that our next government will tackle these issues head on, and I look forward to much anticipated metamorphosis of Ireland, from laggard into leader.”
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