Reacting to the publication of the Government’s Climate Action Plan this afternoon, IFA President Tim Cullinan said there’s a lot of further engagement needed with farmers to ensure we can reduce emissions while developing our sector.
“The world needs more food and Irish farmers all well placed to produce food in an environmentally efficient manner. We are committed to reducing emissions but it cannot be at the expense of farmers’ livelihoods or by reducing in output,” he said.
“When we met the Minister for Agriculture last week, we made it clear that IFA is willing to engage further to try and find agreement around a Climate Action Plan for the sector which can continue to facilitate the sustainable development of our sector,” he said.
“The debate has become unnecessarily divisive with far too much focus on cattle numbers. The focus must be on reducing emissions, not on reducing cattle numbers,” he said
“The issue is that the Government could do real damage to our sector to meet a short-term target when technological advancements could well to help us achieve our 2030 targets. The Government needs to invest in R&D to activate these technologies,” he said.
“The European Union has already approved a product which significantly reduces methane emissions from livestock. We need to expedite already promising research and how this and other products can be delivered in a grass-based system,” he said.
“There are many other technological advancements which are underway and we need to embrace these,” he said.
On land use, the IFA President said he was concerned about some aspects of the proposals around Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF).
“There needs to be much more engagement with farmers on these issues. Any measures in this area must be entirely voluntary,” he said.
“It must be remembered that farmers are citizens too, and they and their families will have to adapt to the changes in the transport and energy sector,” he said.