IFA President Tim Cullinan has said that the Land Use Review: Fluxes, Scenarios and Capacity Synthesis report commissioned by the EPA is fundamentally flawed.
“We have reviewed this report. It was compiled using international averages (Tier 1 data) for emissions from organic soils and carbon sequestration by mineral soils. For a report of this nature to have credibility, Irish values (Tier 2/3 data) would need to be used as initial Irish research points to significant differentials in Irish values vs international values.”
He called on Government to immediately reject the document, which excludes any mention of “farm income”, “family farm”, and “rural communities” and only references “farms” three times in its 36 pages.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that this report realises farmers’ worst fears and outlines scenarios without consideration for farmers, families and communities. Real sustainability is based on three pillars, economic, environmental and social. If implemented, it would effectively wipe out communities outside of large urban centres,” he said.
The report does not refer to carbon leakage, despite the fact the Government is required to take it into account in the climate act.
“Imports of food from Brazil into the European Union increased by 47% in 2022. In reality, reducing food production in Ireland will lead to ‘carbon leakage’ as food will be produced in other countries at a higher environmental cost. Meanwhile, we risk devastating our sector with significant economic and social consequences”.
He said, “The goalposts are constantly moving. While the report looks out to 2050, its publication causes huge uncertainty and unnecessary worry to a sector that contributed over €16bn to the economy in 2022. It undermines farmers’ ability to plan and develop, and as we all know, uncertainty is the enemy of progress”.
“I know of no other sector where businesses are being asked to revert to how they did things thirty, twenty or even ten years ago and to sacrifice corresponding economic gains. Yet some in Irish society would like to see farmers returning to milking by hand, cultivating crops without machinery and changing some of the best ruminant grazing land in the world into unproductive areas. Let me be clear; this will not be allowed to happen. There will be an uprising in rural Ireland if the Government were to do anything like this,” he said.
“IFA recognises the climate challenge, and our members are keen to play their part. However, it will not be at the expense of their livelihoods. This Government and subsequent Governments must be under no illusion that if the recommendations contained within this report were enacted, rural Ireland would revolt,” he said.