Carbon neutrality and sustainable environmental protection serve the interests of farmers

By: STA Date: 2022. 10. 07. 13:20

The agriculture ministers of the Visegrad Group and Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia adopted a joint statement regarding the expected EU carbon management initiative on Friday in Bazin, Slovakia.

(Photo: Pixabay)

The agriculture ministers of the V4 and Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia discussed the carbon economy, the goals of the “Farm to Fork” strategy regarding plant protection products, the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war on agriculture and the current status of the BIOEAST initiative. Hungary was represented at the event by Sándor Farkas, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture.

At the meeting, Sándor Farkas drew attention to the fact that we all feel the effects of climate change and that this year’s drought can show producers the importance of low-carbon farming practices

He called it a significant aspect that the transition to new production methods takes time, so the related support system should compensate farmers for practices that increase carbon sequestration with a temporary or permanent decrease in yield. The deputy minister indicated that Hungary plans to support a number of measures to increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the framework of the measures of the Common Agricultural Policy. At livestock farms, emission reduction practices require significant investment, which does not pay off, which is why additional support is very important. He emphasized that the European Commission is expected to make a proposal in the near future for the so-called carbon dioxide removal certification system, which should be simple and transparent. Furthermore, it must contain adequate flexibilities in order to properly take into account the differences arising from the characteristics and situation of individual countries. That is why he considered it important to coordinate positions in the expanded V4 circle and to promote the interests of Central and Eastern European member states through joint action.

Sándor Farkas agreed with the implementation of sustainable plant protection, the reduction of the environmental load, the use of plant protection products, and the reduction of environmental and health risks arising from their use

At the same time, the deputy minister called it unfair the quantity specified in the European Commission’s pesticide reduction proposal, which covers all member states like a lawnmower, which, according to him, could endanger the safety of cultivation, the competitiveness of producers and the food supply. In addition, he said: in the current food security and inflationary situation, neither the further increase of production costs nor the reduction of production is acceptable. The direct consequence of this would be an increase in imports, which would also pose a serious food safety risk. He explained: when determining the mandatory national target values ​​related to the use and risk of chemical plant protection products, the different starting points of the member states and the results achieved so far should be taken into account. In recent years, we have invested a lot of effort and considerable financial resources in preserving and developing our agricultural productivity and competitiveness, and we do not want to take back the results we have achieved, he added. Regarding the war taking place in our neighbor, Sándor Farkas reminded us: EU sanctions led to an energy crisis and inflation not seen in a long time, which drastically increased production costs. Gas prices have a significant impact on the prices of fertilizers essential for agricultural production, more and more fertilizer manufacturers are ceasing production, and this can have disastrous consequences for the next farming year. The grain exports of the EU have also decreased significantly due to the weaker harvest caused by the drought, so it is of particular importance that the grain produced in Ukraine can reach the rest of the world.

The deputy minister also voiced his conviction that in order to remain competitive in the medium and long term, it is essential to develop, modernize and make the sector sustainable. In his opinion, in the longer term, increasing the use of renewable energy sources and bioenergy, as well as digitization, which reduces operating costs, can be a solution.


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