Irena Šinko assumes office as Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food
Today, Minister Irena Šinko and outgoing Minister Jože Podgoršek completed the handover at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. Jože Podgoršek thanked all colleagues for their constructive cooperation and encouraged them to maintain their love for the sector and continue to work enthusiastically. He wished his successor every success in her role at the helm of one of the most demanding sectors, in particular in the difficult period ahead. The new Minister thanked the outgoing Minister for his work so far and for a correct handover, wishing him every success in the future. She also presented the areas that will be crucial during her term in office.
At the handover, outgoing Minister Jože Podgoršek highlighted the challenges that he had faced during his term in office, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, severe frost in fruit growing, the lowest harvest in beekeeping since the beginning of monitoring, high prices of energy products and production materials, and the war in Ukraine. He considers that the Ministry responded to the challenges with appropriate measures and support, which helped to stabilise the entire sector. The Presidency of the Council of the EU was also carried out excellently.
The new Minister Irena Šinko thanked the outgoing Minister for his dedicated work. She stressed the importance and great responsibility of the work she is assuming. She briefly outlined the programme and tasks that she considers the most important during her term in office: "Agriculture is not only an important supplier, it also plays an important role in the environment and sustainability. Slovenian agriculture has to be sustainable, while emphasising the economic viability of production, nature protection and social sustainability. Food should be produced locally and in a safe and traditional way to the largest extent possible. The supply should be smooth and with a higher added value. We have to establish effective control of the food origin. Agricultural production must become environmentally friendly, the use of natural resources should not have any adverse effects and it should remain climate neutral, and it is necessary to preserve biodiversity. It is necessary to develop new sustainable farming practices in order to reduce the use of mineral fertilisers and plant protection products and to increase the introduction of organic matter in the soil. However, we know that a large share of Slovenia's territory is under protection, such as Natura 2000 sites, water protection areas and landscape parks. It will be necessary to promote organic farming in these areas and to find appropriate support for this purpose. Our goal should therefore be to increase the level of self-sufficiency in Slovenia and the amount of food of known provenance and to introduce as much of this food as possible in public institutes. We have to support the production of locally produced food and its quality."
Jože Podgoršek was in charge of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food since October 2020 in Janez Janša's government.