At a meeting with the Minister for the Environment John Gormley and Minister of State Ciaran Cuffe, IFA President John Bryan set down a clear marker that the concerns of the farming and agricultural sector must be fully addressed in the forthcoming climate change legislation.
Mr Bryan told the Minister that it was unacceptable that any legislation would go beyond any obligations set out by the European Union, or that would damage the potential of the Irish agricultural sector to expand production as set out in the Food Harvest 2020 Report.
John Bryan said, “the proposals must fully recognise the many positives around agriculture, especially our sustainable model of farming and the carbon sink in both our permanent pasture and our forestry. These benefits and those accruing from bio-energy and other renewables must be allocated directly to agriculture as part of this legislation.”
The IFA delegation said the unique role of agriculture and food in the Irish economy must be recognised in the proposed legislation. “If we fail to develop our low-carbon, sustainable model of food production, and the opportunity that exists to grow jobs and exports, it will be a disaster for the country’s economic recovery.”
Concluding, the IFA President said, “Ireland’s grass-based production system ensures that we produce beef and milk with lower carbon intensity than other exporting nations. Over the past 20 years emissions from milk and beef production have all declined in Ireland. We have a low carbon model of food production and Government policy must not undermine the sector’s ability to drive exports and jobs as part of our economic recovery.”