Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has called for more flexibility in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to react to weather-related challenges.

The CAP’s framework is too rigid to deliver the swift response farmers need in times of weather crises, Minister McConalogue told a meeting of EU agriculture ministers on Monday.

Currently, the EU has a crisis reserve of only €500m across all 27 member states that can be utilised for farmers hit by extreme weather, disease outbreaks or market disturbances.

More frequent

“Extreme weather events have become more frequent in the last number of years, adding to the ongoing cycle of difficulties being experienced in the agriculture sector,” he said.

“I believe that a key requirement for the crisis management framework of the CAP is to remain as flexible as possible to provide for the most agile response.”

The Minister claimed that there is currently too much red tape around assisting farmers in cases of extreme weather when they are in need of a swift response.

“In previous discussions, it has become clear that additional requirements would only serve to restrict us, when a timely decision is the key priority,” he stated.

Minister McConalogue added that access to adequate finance is vital to ensuring that the farming sector builds resilience.

“When building resilience, we need to consider the economic status of farming enterprises to avoid widening the disparity between them and society at large.”