If farmers are to respond to environmental and climate change challenges, then they need to have the right incentives to do so, European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has said.
On Monday, he told a meeting of EU agriculture ministers that the agri-food sector has to do more to reduce the impact the sector has on the environment.
“While we have already made some progress in reducing the impact of the agri-food sector on climate and the environment, it’s very clear that we have to do more and we have to do it faster.
“Emissions from agriculture are around 10% of total non-CO2 emissions in the European Union and if we want to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of this century as we promised in the Paris Agreement, we have to utilise all means that are at our disposal to not only increase carbon efficiency but also bring absolute emissions down.
“If we want to help our farmers to respond to these challenges they need to have the right incentives. The support schemes we can design under our proposal can be, in our view, a game-changer in this regard,” he said.
Commissioner Hogan said that if the Commission gets a clear signal from EU agricultural ministers that the environment and climate change will be at the heart of the next CAP, this will be a good argument for the European Council for keeping the CAP budget strong and well-funded when those negotiations for the next multi-annual financial framework (MFF) enter the final round.
Also speaking at the meeting was Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, who again called for a properly funded CAP budget on the back of citizens and consumers in Europe wanting to see a bigger focus on the environment.
“So again and again, I am going to say we need a proper budget. Of course we have to be efficient and effective in how we manage it, but if we are reaching for the top, if we want to be the global best as our citizens are demanding, we need the right support to make this happen.
“We must maintain the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget,” he said.
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