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Ireland beats around the bush …’s (…)

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Anger between ministers and deputies would have further enhanced Portuguese arrogance. After initial discussions in May, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union reached an agreement in principle on the terms of the new CAP on June 24 and 25, 2021, to the great satisfaction of the Minister, the Portuguese farmer Maria do C. Antones. The second was aimed at reaching a compromise before the end of the Portuguese presidency in June. The last point of the reform? I do not know. Once the main lines have been fixed, it is now up to each member state to finalize its national strategic plan. In other words, internally, the discussions will continue throughout the summer, with copies to be submitted to the Commission no later than December 31, 2021.

After taking the temperature of the exchanges with our Spanish neighbors, the Agrobiosciences-in mission ends in the direction of Ireland. In this interview, Carmel Cahill, an associate member of the French Academy of Agriculture and former director of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce at OECD, describes an in-depth discussion on Invento.

Agrobiosciences-In-Mission: Each country is currently in the final stages of negotiations to finalize their national strategic plan. What are the discussions in Ireland about? If so, what are the points of disagreement?
Carmel Cahill: Two topics are mainly discussed: the integration of assistance and the content of environmental projects. For the first, the problem is specific to Ireland, where many other countries have already acted. Historically, direct aid was calculated on the basis of production, but since the severance of aid in 2003, this has been evident in a unit area. This created variable assistance per hectare between farms. The previous reform required Ireland to run the internal integration. The government has been working for it since 2015 and, very modestly, should continue this process under the new CAP. Farmers’ unions are reluctant to do so for fear of hitting the region, especially commercial and more profitable farms. It seems that the government also wants to slow down the process. For the Left political parties, they see the CAP as a social policy rather than an agricultural or economic policy. Therefore, they request that assistance be redistributed to small and medium farms. It is clear that all this will develop further as the discussions progress.

“It’s hard to avoid goat and cabbage.”

About the Eco Diet[1] ?

At this point, the positions will vary from one actor to another. Let’s start with the Irish government, which seeks the greatest flexibility in the design of these eco diets. Aim: Most farmers will benefit from not being sidelined. But this strategy can undermine the principle of environmental conditions, i.e. the protection of the environment that requires fundamental changes. As Ireland faces a number of challenges in this context (see box Irish puzzle). In my opinion, it would be difficult to avoid goat and cabbage.

Farmers’ unions criticize these new environmental requirements and pay very low wages for their efforts. It is clear that this reflects the fear that employment will be weakened rather than the unconsciousness of farmers towards environmental issues. Finally, environmental NGOs believe that all this proves to be very cowardly and that more radical decisions are needed to honor the goals of the Green Deal or the Paris Agreement.

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In your opinion, do you see any issues from this discussion?

I will use the term basic questions instead. To understand them, it is important to remember the place occupied by the agricultural and agricultural sectors in Ireland. It is a very important sector for employment, especially outside of Dublin, but also for the country’s economy, which exports a large portion of production.[2]. It is therefore the country’s major endogenous economic sector: in addition to this Ireland is highly dependent on foreign investment.

From a macroeconomic perspective, governments are notable through Food Wise 2025[3] The growth aspirations of the region have led to an increase in exports to turn it into an economic engine, especially in rural areas. The Irish agricultural sector is specialized mainly for breeding and milk production. Imagine: 80% of the agricultural sector depends on livestock, be it palo meat. Therefore, the agricultural sector, which contributes the most to GHG emissions, is responsible for up to 35% of water pollution and loss of biodiversity, according to NGOs. The whole challenge, therefore, is to reduce GHG emissions and, in general, the environmental footprint, without disrupting this vital engine of the endogenous economy.

“Sometimes we have the impression that the discussions are going on in parallel, never going through

Unfortunately it is not always the sacred site that is discussed in these terms. However, at this point we feel the beginning of possible discussions is not through CAP, but through the Food Wise of the Future that is currently evolving. The alliance of environmental NGOs that took part in the talks recently withdrew because the government did not seem to care about the role of the agricultural sector in GHG emissions; Or more widespread pollution or loss of biodiversity. In their view, this inadequacy actually has implications for other sectors, such as transportation or housing, so they need to make greater efforts to meet global commitments.

There is a lot of discussion going on in Ireland right now about CAP, Food Wise and the Green Deal. But sometimes we have the impression that these discussions are never held in parallel.

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However, we understand from you that discussions have begun about how the agricultural sector will affect the environment, especially livestock …

There are questions that need to be traded off, which have not yet been fully discussed. For example, we can assume that part of the answer lies in the diversification of agricultural production, so this area is not set aside specifically for livestock activities, which generates a lot of GHGs. But we must take into account the Irish climate, humidity and little sunlight, which jeopardize the development of arable crops.

More broadly, with part of livestock, questions arise as to whether this activity for the economy and demographics of these regions is related to the consequences of declining, thorny – even barred – subject to the standard of living of these farmers. For some, their farm incomes depend heavily on CAP money, but as in many other EU states, including France, the way they are calculated does not reflect the living standards of the operator and / or household: is he in a relationship? Does the partner have an external job? Does he have to pay rent, etc.? Finally, to what extent do agricultural activities contribute to the total income of the family – or not? Instead of trying to shed light on these questions, instead of discussing all these issues in public, we are trying to maintain the status quo. This is devastating.

Finally, to get back to the CAP, this policy is like any political tool: it cannot be a social, environmental, performance or income support measure at the same time, unless you want to fix all the costs. Classify the circle.

Another factor to consider is Brexit. Historically, the UK has been an important trading partner of Ireland, especially in the agricultural sector. Did the Brexit episode change your thinking about CAP?

There are many concerns about the future implications of Irish exports to the United Kingdom (UK), especially for the beef sector. This is not a recent agreement between the UK and Australia[4] Who is going to fix things. Currently, the UK complies with European health standards, which means they do not allow meat from animals raised on hormones to enter their territory. Good news for Irish products. However, the beef sector is under pressure. What are the consequences for CAP? We can assume that the government will try to achieve a reform that will not weaken this already stressed sector.

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L. Interview with Gillette, Agrobiosciences-In-Mission, June 21, 2021.

Irish puzzle

It looks like a green island full of pastures. In 2018, the French Ministry of Agriculture introduced Irish agriculture and related policies. Best Feature: Livestock Breeding ” Two-thirds of the pasture area used for this purpose is mainly dominated », The second represents 80% of the useful agricultural sector (UAE). As a result : ” Environmental concerns have been at the center of Irish political debate. In fact, 35% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the agricultural sector, and production is on the rise. “. Therefore, “International population analysis concludes that strong global population growth and the westernization of food are coming to an end. “, Irish Agricultural Strategy – Food Wise 2025 – Setting Targets ” To increase the surplus value of the entire Irish agri-food sector by 70%, increase the value of primary production by 65% ​​to $ 10 billion and create 23,000 new jobs. “The problem is pointed out in the document of the Ministry: If we try to reduce the environmental impact,” Overall emissions from Irish agriculture will continue to rise or stagnate .

This policy has the effect of increasing the overall emissions of livestock, especially milk. A perspective that scares people during the green deal. In a report published in May 2021, the Climate Action Network explained the disconnect between the goals of this national policy, which focused on the expansion of dairy livestock, the need to mitigate climate change, and CAP reform. ” Continuation of the Agro-Food Strategy 2030 process is contrary to the controls and directions of the CAP Plan The authors argued.

Sources: Agricultural policies around the world, Ministry of Agriculture, 2018; Will Cap strategic plans help provide the necessary climate action? Climate Action Network, May 2021.

Interview with Carmel Cahill, a former member of the OECD.

[1] Ecoregions: Help from the first pillar to reward farm ecological practices. In a recent agreement between the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, eco-schemes should represent 25% of first aid.

[2] The agrifood sector employs 8.6 per cent and represents 10.6 per cent of exports. Source: Agricultural policies around the world, French Ministry of Agriculture, 2018.

[3] Food Wise 2025, published in 2015, refers to Ireland’s agricultural strategy.

[4] An agreement was reached between Australia and the UK after the Brexit. In particular, it will allow British goods to enter Australia duty free. “Brexit: UK finds trade deal with Australia“, Point June 15, 2021.

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