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State Secretary Irgolič at the meeting of agriculture ministers from the Visegrad Group and Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia

State Secretary Aleš Irgolič attended the second conference of agriculture ministers from the Visegrad Group extended to Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia at the invitation of the Hungarian Minister of Agriculture István Nagy. Ministers continued the dialogue, which began in September last year in Budapest, and sought a common position on the European common agricultural policy among the V4 countries.
State secretary sitting at his desk and preparing for the meeting.

State secretary mag. Aleš Irgolič | Author Ministrstvo za kmetijstvo, gozdarstvo in prehrano.

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At today's meeting, agriculture ministers touched on topical issues such as sustainable carbon cycles, the process of evaluating and approving the strategic plans of the common agricultural policy, sustainable food supply and short supply chains.

During the first part of the meeting, which was dedicated to a discussion on strategic plans and their contribution to a fairer and greener European agriculture, State Secretary Irgolič stressed: "A quick response of the European Commission is vital for a fast and smooth approval of strategic plans. This is why Slovenia supports a structural dialogue on the preparation of strategic plans." State Secretary Irgolič continued by presenting the distribution of direct payments from the eco-scheme and the methods for achieving the objectives of the Farm to Fork Strategy. He added that Slovenia devotes great attention to organic farming in the new programming period. It will financially support investment for promoting above standard practices in environment, nature protection and climate change adaptation.

This was followed by a discussion on the role of agriculture and soil protection in achieving the goals of climate neutrality. State Secretary noted that the new strategic plan includes incentives for accelerating carbon sequestration, which will be included in the eco-scheme and the agri-environment-climate measure. He added that Slovenia follows the commitments for reducing methane emissions. He stressed that various factors have to be taken into account for a greater involvement of farmers in sustainable carbon cycles. "It is necessary to establish an appropriate EU framework for certifying carbon removal and reducing other emissions from agriculture. This framework should be farmer-friendly and simple, while taking into account various factors facing agricultural holdings in the EU, soil types, climactic characteristics and different structural specifics." He also pointed out the importance of the public agricultural advisory service and its role in knowledge transfer and in the promotion of agricultural practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and maintain carbon sequestration.

In the last part of the meeting, ministers discussed the positive effects of short supply chains. State Secretary Irgolič stressed in this context that 80% of all agricultural products produced by farmers in Slovenia are bought or sold through cooperatives. "Many cooperatives own shops that supply the local population. However, we believe that there are still possibilities to enhance short supply chains and ensure locally produced agricultural products for the final consumer. The shops are either managed by cooperatives or they are franchises of larger retail systems."

The ministers concluded the conference by signing a joint declaration committing themselves to joint cooperation in the future development of the European common agricultural policy.