Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD, welcomed Marc Fesneau, the French Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, and his delegation on a visit to Ireland. The visit builds on the French Ireland Joint Plan of Action 2021-2025, signed in 2021 on the occasion of President Macron’s visit to Ireland. During the visit the Ministers discussed working together on areas of mutual agricultural interest.
During the visit a declaration of intent was signed on strengthening cooperation in the field of agricultural education between Teagasc and the French Directorate for Education and Research.
The French delegation started their visit at the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ashtown, Co. Dublin, where Minister McConalogue and Minister Fesneau made opening statements at the Teagasc EU50 conference celebrating the 50-year anniversary of Ireland’s EU membership. Minister Fesneau and the French delegation, in the company of Minister McConalogue, then visited a Teagasc signpost sustainable farm in Co. Meath.
Speaking at the Teagasc EU 50 event Minister Fesneau said, “within the European Union, Ireland and France are trusted partners, particularly when it comes to agriculture. The Common Agricultural Policy, which came into force in 1962, is one of the oldest European policies and one of the major foundations of European construction. Within the EU, Ireland and France share a common vision of agriculture: sustainable, resilient and successful, based on a family model.”
Speaking at the farm visit, Minister McConalogue said, “I am very pleased that my French colleague visited a future beef demonstration farm and were able to see first-hand how a family run sustainable beef production system operates. The farm is part of the Future Beef Programme network of 22 beef demonstration farms, which Teagasc has established with industry partners to highlight Ireland’s sustainable beef production. These farms demonstrate how efficiencies made on beef farms can help to improve profitability while also reducing the carbon footprint of the beef produced on these farms.”
Minister Fesneau said, “during this visit, I was able to see that Ireland, like France, is a land of excellence for sustainable livestock farming. We need to recognise and encourage all the efforts made by our farmers, both in Ireland and in France. We need livestock to feed ourselves, but we also need them for the transition and to combat climate change, all the more so because, as we have unfortunately seen again recently, farmers are the first victims of climate change.”
Both Ministers then held a bilateral meeting, discussing a wide range of issues, including sustainable farming, Free Trade Agreements, the ongoing discussions on the Regulation on new genomics techniques and the Common Agricultural Policy.
Following the bilateral meeting, Minister McConalogue stated that, “the bilateral meeting builds on the continued cooperation under the Joint Plan of Action and is a clear statement of both or our countries commitment to work closely together on matters of mutual agricultural interest. I look forward to working closely with my French colleague on the future development of the Common Agricultural Policy and other related matters.”
The visit concluded with the signing of the declaration of intent with Teagasc. Speaking at the event, Minister Fesneau stated that, “this signature illustrates, once again, the richness of the bilateral relationship and is fully in line with the Joint Plan of Action signed between our two countries in 2021.”