Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

EU Funding

Photo of Ruairi Ó MurchúRuairi Ó Murchú (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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189. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the expected timeframe in which the €500 million European Crisis Reserve Fund will be made available to support farming families across the pig, beef, seed potato and horticultural sectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16686/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I attended an extraordinary EU Agriculture Ministers meeting on 2nd March and the Agri-Fish Council in Brussels on 21 March. The Ukrainian agriculture minister, Roman Leschenko, was invited to speak, via videoconference, at the Agri-Fish Council about the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the agricultural sector.

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

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. The communication sets out actions in three areas:

- First, it presents immediate actions to safeguard food security in Ukraine and around the world.

- Second, it addresses the challenge of food stability in the EU's food system, with a range of measures to support our farmers and maintain affordability for our citizens.

- Finally, it confirms the EU agenda to make our food system sustainable and resilient in the years to come.

It includes €500 million to support farmers most affected and agreement to deploy measures to support specific markets and allow for increased levels of advances of direct payments later this year. 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. It includes an allocation of €15.8 million for Ireland, which can be topped up by national funding.

I will be examining ways to best mobilise this support as soon as possible, taking account of the detailed requirements and conditionality attached to this exceptional aid provision. The EU package also includes plans to deploy market safety net measures to support specific markets including private storage aid for pigmeat.

I will continue to engage with all our stakeholders and will continue to work across Government, and with our European partners, to respond to this crisis, using all of the tools at our disposal.

I am committed to helping our farm families and their businesses through this period of considerable challenge.


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