Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Ukraine War

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

448. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with consequences for food supplies across Europe, has been discussed with his European Union colleagues. [15300/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Since the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine, I have participated in an extraordinary EU Agriculture Ministers meeting on 2 March and the Agri-Fish Council in Brussels on 21 March. The Ukrainian agriculture minister, Roman Leschenko, spoke via videoconference at the Agri-Fish Council about the impact of the Russian invasion on Ukraine's agriculture.

My Department has also been engaged at a number of EU meetings in recent weeks to discuss food security issues, including a meeting of the European Food Security Crisis preparedness and Response Mechanism (EFSCM).

I have outlined to my EU colleagues that Ireland has continued to strongly support the most extensive EU sanctions on Russia for its outrageous actions. We must also ensure that the actions we take in that wider context, together with the burden that must be borne, are sustainable, and this will only be the case if we do all we can to maintain food security, for our own citizens, for the Ukrainian people and in a wider international context.

I underlined my particular concerns in relation to the impacts of the conflict on agri-food supply chains, and especially on inputs such as fertiliser and feed. As the situation is obviously a volatile and evolving one, I stressed the need from an EU perspective to continually assess developments, and to be ready to take necessary responses to minimise the impact on our collective food security.

Following discussions at these meetings the European Commission announced on Wednesday 23 March, via the communication “Safeguarding food security and reinforcing the resilience of food systems”, a range of actions to enhance global food security and to support farmers and consumers in the EU in light of rising food prices and input costs.

These actions included Support through the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) EU countries' actions to provide food and/or basic material assistance to the most deprived. It also included €500 million to support farmers most affected, including an allocation of €15.8 million to Ireland; and agreement to deploy market safety net measures, including private storage aid for pigmeat.

Other actions approved included a new self-standing Temporary Crisis Framework (TCF) for state aid and allowing Member States to derogate from certain greening obligations in 2022 to bring additional agricultural land into production.

On 22nd March, the Government approved my proposal for a targeted intervention package for the tillage sector and a multi-species sward initiative, worth over €12 million to support Irish farmers. This package is aimed at producing more native crops while reducing dependency on imports and on crops with a low demand for chemical fertiliser.

I will continue to work with my EU colleagues to monitor the situation closely and consider all appropriate measures.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.