Thursday, 12 July 2012

Questions (213)

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

216 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he is satisfied regarding the future viability of existing farm enterprises including the need to retain supports through the common agricultural policy in order to preserve the integrity and independence of the agrifood sector in this country and throughout Europe particularly in the present economic climate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34296/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

The CAP remains of crucial importance to preserve the integrity of the agri-food sector in Ireland and throughout the EU. It provides the framework within which the sustainable development of a competitive and efficient agricultural sector is pursued, as well as the resources to assist in its achievement. In this way the CAP makes a vital contribution to economic growth in the EU and to global food security.

The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2011-2020 highlighted the significant challenges to addressing global food insecurity and the major opportunities for food and agricultural producers arising from the higher average prices projected over the coming decade. It noted that public and private sector investments are required in agricultural research and development, institutions and infrastructure to increase the productivity of the sector and to improve the ability to deal with climate change and resource scarcity. In recognising that volatility will remain a feature of agricultural markets, it said that coherent policies are required to both reduce volatility where possible and to limit its negative impacts. The CAP is such a coherent policy. It has underpinned the ongoing modernisation of the European agriculture sector. In recent years it has become increasingly market-orientated, and increasingly focused on the sustainable development of the agricultural economy. It has also responded to the evolving demands of consumers in relation to the environment and the need to adapt to climate change. In this way the CAP has helped the agriculture sector to become more productive, more competitive and more sustainable while maximising its contribution to the economy.