Uncertainty and anxiety in the markets following the military invasion of Ukraine have prompted EU agriculture and fisheries ministers to continue discussions on food security and the situation in EU agriculture.
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EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 7 April met in Luxembourg. The new Minister of Agriculture and Food of Ukraine Mykola Solsky also attended the meeting as a guest.
The EU Council discussed the recent Communication from the European Commission (EC) on "Ensuring Food Security and Strengthening the Resilience of Food Systems", which sets out various measures to reduce the impact of the war in Ukraine on food security and increase the resilience of the EU food system to crises.
Ministers broadly welcomed the EC communication and reiterated their unanimous solidarity and support for Ukraine now and in the future.
"Food security and resilience in all food supply chains are important conditions for the security of all of us. We must jointly and severally provide Ukraine with the much-needed support to ensure food security in Ukraine, in the EU and on a global scale, ”said Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture Kęstutis Navickas.
Assessing the situation in the country's agricultural sector, the Minister expressed concern about the increased production costs, especially energy resources, feed, fuel - we must ensure that our farmers, food producers continue their activities, it must be profitable. Only in this way will we be able to provide for ourselves and help Ukraine.
"Assessing the scale of the difficulties, it is clear that we will not solve all the problems with the support measures already proposed by the EC. However, we hope to at least partially alleviate the current situation in the most affected sectors of our country. It is not good that most of the financial burden in dealing with difficulties of this magnitude is again being placed on the shoulders of the member states themselves, ”said K. Navickas.
The Minister welcomed the planned possibility to include fallow as an additional production potential in agricultural production - the rules for crop declaration have already been adjusted accordingly. The Commission's initiative to collect data on private stocks of basic food, feed and raw materials on a regular basis is also important.
The Minister also drew attention to the growing problem of food affordability due to rising inflation. "We plan to provide support to charities and food aid organizations. We hope to contribute to the reduction of food waste by, for example, distributing vegetables that are fit for consumption but do not meet the established standards, or products that have already been produced, ”said K. Navickas.
The EU Council also discussed the revision of the LULUCF regulation, which aims to contribute to the EU's climate goals. Minister K. Navickas noted that the revision of this regulation must take into account the national peculiarities of the Member States.
"It is important to ensure the coherence and consistency of the national policies and goals of the EU countries in the development of the protection of biodiversity, renewable energy and the food supply chain. "The agricultural sector has great potential to contribute to climate goals, but this must be in line with food security," said Minister Navickas.
The EU Council also discussed the prevention of avian influenza and the revision of the regulation on geographical indications. ■
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