‘Greening’ concerns to be addressed – Hogan

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EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has said that most of the teething problems associated with the implementation of the new CAP support measures – including those linked to greening – will be sorted out before the end of this year.

He was commenting in the wake of the ongoing debate in Northern Ireland regarding the specific problems, caused by greening, on a number of arable farms.

“My core objective is to have the new support arrangements simplified before the end of this year,” he added.

“Upon taking office, I was fully aware of the fact that the new CAP support measures would need tweaking, in order to make them more practicable. But this is part and parcel of the evolutionary changes that continue to take place, where the CAP is concerned.

“I am also conscious of the debate that has been taking place in Northern Ireland with regard to the new greening regulations.

“But the fact remains that the vast majority of arable farmers in the province are not affected by the new measures. However, it is important that any concerns that do exist are fully aired over the coming months.”

Where milk is concerned Phil Hogan believes that Europe’s dairy industry must develop an aggressive export policy in order to overcome the future challenges posed by market volatility.

“China and South Asia are key markets in this regard,” he said.

“To this end I will ensure that trade missions to these regions will be fully supported by Brussels.”

Mr Hogan also believes that EU dairy markets will remain stable over the coming months.

“Farmgate prices have actually risen across Europe since the turn of the year,” he said.

“Yes producer returns have fallen from the highs of twelve months ago. But the current EU average price of 32c/L represents the exact same level of return that was available to dairy farmers during the spring months of 2013.

“I keep hearing stories about the dairy sector being in crisis, but all the figures point to the industry being in a reasonable state of health.”

He continued: “The medium to long term outlook for Europe’s agri food industry remains extremely bright.

“Fundamentally, the world needs to sustainably produce 50% more food on an annual basis in order to meet the requirements of a fast growing global population. Europe must be part of the solution that is required in this regard.”