12 Apr 2012
CLIMATE CHANGE PLAN MUST SAFEGUARD IRELAND’S SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE SECTOR – IFAEnvironment & Rural Affairs
IFA Climate Change Spokesman Jer Bergin has called for full recognition to be given to Ireland’s unique emission efficient food production system in any national Climate Change plan which may emerge from the current consultation with stakeholders.
Speaking after a meeting with the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) Jer Bergin said, “The agri-food sector is the largest Irish-owned productive sector, employing over 300,000 people and producing enough beef each year to feed 30 million Europeans. This is done in a more environmentally sustainable way than anywhere else in Europe. Our grass-based beef and milk production in Ireland ensures that farmers produce food in a low carbon and emission efficient model. It is incumbent on NESC, when providing policy direction to Government, to recognise the economic, environmental and social value that the agri-food sector brings to the national economy.”
“Ireland’s response to climate change must consider the increasing global demand for food, water scarcity, energy security, food poverty and carbon leakage. Our policy must be based on the sustainable expansion of the agri-food sector in Ireland, which can address these many challenges.”
Jer Bergin concluded by encouraging NESC to support emission reduction policy initiatives put forward by IFA which would harness farmers’ expertise and productive capacity to develop a vibrant renewable energy sector.
“It is essential that the Government implements the proposals set out in the Association’s renewable policy document Ireland’s Land-Based Renewables Strategy. These include the introduction of realistic REFIT tariffs, a clear biomass public procurement policy and a national bio-energy roadmap, which are essential to support jobs, growth and economic recovery.”