Oireachtas Agriculture Committee Chair Addresses EU Conference

Deputy Cahill is attending the EU conference in his capacity as Chair of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, which is taking place in Val de Loire in France, is organised by the French National Assembly.

In addressing attendees at the conference today, Deputy Cahill said: “Recent geopolitical events have driven home the fact, in my view, that food security for the people of Europe must remain high on the agenda for all legislators across all EU Member States.

“After World War II, the Common Agricultural Policy was designed to protect food security in Europe. It was to ensure that we produced enough food, as efficiently as possible, to feed a growing population. Farmers were supported through direct payments for decades to reach this goal. And it was hugely successfully.

“In recent times, we are seeing the CAP move away from a production based policy to an environmental based policy. I fully accept that we have to move with the climate change agenda, but we cannot do so at the cost of production when we have a growing global population to feed.

“The unjustifiable and horrifying war in Ukraine has proven that our food security is not guaranteed. Just as the European people did not take food security for granted post-1945, we, as European legislators, must not take food security for grated today.

“I am firmly of the view that we cannot afford to reduce production across our European Union. We have a growing population to feed globally, and over 1 billion of that population is starving or malnourished as things stand, so it is impossible from my point of view to see how curbing production, and threatening our food security here, will be of benefit to any sector of society.

“If food starts to become scarcer, we are left with a situation where prices will rise. We are already battling a rising cost of living right across our 27 Member States, and no more than my own home country of Ireland. Less food production means higher prices for the consumer. Quite simply, less food production potentially means less food security for our people.

“There is a clear consensus emerging here today, and one that I very much welcome, and that is that CAP has to be looked at again. When the new CAP was framed, it in a very different global environment and that has since changed completely. Restrictions on production have to be revisited in the context of food security. Recent events have really driven home to many of us, just how vulnerable we are when it comes to food security.”

Concluding, Deputy Cahill said: “We, as a European Union, must go back to basics with CAP. We must not take our food security for granted. The world is rapidly changing and recent events have proven that we must remain united, as a European community, to protect the welfare and needs of all our people, and that most definitely includes feeding our people.”