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Agriculture; Food and the Marine | Food shortages impact on agri-food sector emission reductions

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the extent to which he continues to encourage compliance to meet emission reduction targets while at the same time ensuring that the agri-food industry is not damaged given the prospect of world food shortages; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The Deputy may be aware that the issue of maintaining food production has been the subject of much discussion over recent months, particularly in the context of agreeing sectoral emissions ceiling that were established for the agriculture sector over recent months. 

My position has been consistent on this matter, agriculture will indeed need to step up its climate ambitions, like all sectors, in order to ensure that the economy wide reduction of a 51% reduction in emissions by 2030 is achieved.  However, agriculture is not unique in this regard as climate change is a challenge for everyone in society.

I am currently considering the outputs of the Food Vision Dairy and Beef reports. All options are being considered in order to ensure that emissions get on a declining trajectory to live within our agreed carbon budgets. The Climate Action Plan 2023 will soon be published, and it will contain a step up in ambition in relation to some measures such as reduced chemical N and protected urea. I am satisfied that the sector will be able to achieve its stated climate objectives. There is no doubt that some farmers will take up diversification options that are provided as part of our climate transformation. However, given the efficiency gains that continue to be made at farm level, I am confident that food production levels can be maintained, even if some farmers choose to diversify. We have seen the key role the Economic Breeding Index has played in dairy production over the last decade. 

My ultimate aim is to futureproof our beef and dairy sector for the benefit of our industry, the environment and our farm families who are the backbone of the sector and rural communities. Ireland’s agri-food sector will continue to be underpinned by our world class dairy and beef sectors, and it is critical that we work collectively to achieve these multiple objectives. 

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