Wednesday, 27th June 2012
CAP reform proposal proves fruitful for Irish school children's health!
Labour MEP for Munster, Phil Prendergast, has welcomed rapporteur Michel Dantin MEP's proposal to extend the School Fruit Scheme to include vegetables and milk. This proposal was introduced during the presentation of his report on the Common Organisation of the Markets in Agricultural Products (One of the four reports which form the backbone of the European Parliament's response to the Commission's proposals for CAP Reform being discussed recently).
Speaking after the meeting, Ms. Prendergast said "It is important that people realise that the Common Agricultural Policy does not just benefit farmers and the agricultural sector, but rather it affects all of our lives in a positive way, a perfect example being the School Fruit Scheme.
"The initial scheme was first formulated in 2006 as a response to the nearly 22 million overweight children living across the European Union and the obvious knock-on effects this has on life expectancy, work rates and our health systems.
"This year alone, it is estimated that over 300,000 children are overweight or obese in Ireland. This is obviously a worrying development and a worrying sign of the times.
"Mr Dantin's proposal, which is expected to pass at committee stage and to be favourably received by the Commission, means that our school children will have a greater chance of obtaining their essential five-a-day and thus reducing their risk of becoming obese. It also will provide a welcome boost in demand for these products.
"Ireland has participated in this scheme since its initial inception in 2009, receiving a total of €500,000 that year, €512507 in 2010 and €542,398 in 2011. This has been co-funded by the Irish government at a level of 50%.
"It is just a simple example of how a good CAP policy can benefit our whole community and as such is to be commended.
"I would also like to remind people that the deadline for amendments to the reports is the 9th and 10th of July, and if they have any suggestions, they should get in contact."
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