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Agriculture; Food and the Marine | Agri-food sector carbon emissions reductions

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the extent to which efforts continue to maximise the reduction of carbon emissions in the agri-food sector without reducing production; 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, like all sectors of the economy, will indeed need to step up its climate ambitions 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. Also, farming is well positioned to meet these ambitious. 

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. 

I recently approved the largest ever forestry support programme in the history of the state and undoubtedly some farmers may diversify away from food production. However, this will be on a voluntary basis, and farmers will be left to make decisions about their own farms. 

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 we must work collectively to support farmers in these aims. 

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