Cows grazing in Ireland

ICMSA says “Rediscovery” of Food Security Dimension of CAP must be followed by Budget Increase and Policy Changes.

 The President of ICMSA, Denis Drennan, has said that the elevation of Food Security in the EU’s Strategic Agenda 2029 is potentially very significant and signals a commitment to dealing with ‘here and now’ threats and challenges over what Mr. Drennan said were the more abstract and long-term challenges contained in the previous EU Green Deal plan.

Mr. Drennan said that while the thrust of any plan need not be a binary ‘Either/Or’ and while farmers absolutely accepted the need to move forward on lowering emissions and mitigating climate change, that could not be the sole focus of a farm and food policy and the Green Deal’s concentration on just those climate aspects had brought the farm sector right across Member States to the verge of ruin and widespread resentment.   Mr. Drennan said that ensuring that we had food in the first place is at least as important as ensuring that the food was produced in the most sustainable fashion.

“This is the point that the Green Deal just never seemed to understand: producing enough food securely for the population of the EU – and producing that from within our own resources – is at least as important as ensuring that it’s produced in a climate-efficient manner.   This Strategic Agenda that will run up to 2029 understands that reality and starts from that point. That is welcome and hopefully represents a move towards reality over aspiration”, said Mr. Drennan.

The ICMSA President said that the announcement needs to be followed with a willingness of Member States and the Commission to look again at the CAP Budget which, according to Mr. Drennan, had been ‘salami-sliced’ to the point of uselessness and must be reorientated to deliver policies that supported farm families rather than undermining them.

“We hope that this welcome re-focus, this rediscovery of the original motive and function of CAP, will be followed on by a meaningful increase in the CAP Budget that will deliver a policy that will make a real difference to farmers. The kind of silly and counter-productive ‘slicing away’ of direct payments and their redirection away from meaningful farming to green ‘land stewardship’ has been an unmitigated disaster.  We have ended up with a direct payments system that’s actually weighted against a farmer producing food and in favour of someone actually reducing the amount of food produced from their holding: it’s the exact opposite of what is required and what CAP was designed to do”, said Mr. Drennan.

“This potential change of direction must now be reinforced by a meaningful increase in the CAP budget and that second part of the equation must be called for by Ireland as soon as possible and while ‘the iron is hot’ in terms of policy ambition. There’s just no point in recognising the need for Food Security if the farmers you are looking to for that Food Security are being wiped out through lack of supports and a system that allows – even encourages – corporate margin-grabbing.  At least they can see the change that’s needed; now we need to see the budget follow that realisation”, concluded the ICMSA President.  

Ends        2 July 2024

Denis Drennan, 086-8389401

President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office