Dáil debates

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Other Questions

Food Harvest 2020 Strategy

10:10 am

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I am satisfied that Ireland is on course to comply with the annual mitigation targets under the 2009 EU effort-sharing decision in the first half of the 2013 to 2020 compliance period. However, there will be significant compliance challenges in the years 2017 to 2020, if the economy continues to grow as it is. The first iteration of the national mitigation plan, which is being prepared under the planned legislation, will not only focus on addressing this challenge but will also look to 2030 and beyond. My Department is developing the sectoral mitigation plan for agriculture and this will examine how the sector can play its part. I intend that it will play a significant role in that challenge.

Looking to the future and a further development of the agri-food industry over the next decade, a high-level committee which I established towards the end of last year is in the process of developing a ten-year strategy to 2025. This will include the impact of milk quota removal. While I cannot pre-empt the outcome of this important work, the emphasis must be placed on encouraging sustainable production of food in light of the growing global demand, to reduce the carbon intensity of production and to contribute to both food security and greenhouse gas mitigation objectives.

There is also a really important framing of target setting at European level in terms of the targets set for 2030 that needs to involve land use as a whole. The carbon sink value of afforestation is part of the overall agriculture story.


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