Written answers

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Industry

Photo of Alan DillonAlan Dillon (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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72. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which farmers and agri-food business can get involved in the bioeconomy; the role his Department is playing in developing such opportunities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33602/20]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The critical role of the Bioeconomy in a sustainable global transition has been widely recognised albeit at an early stage of development. The bioeconomy refers to the development of value from biological resources with a particular focus on waste streams.

The Government has invested significantly in this early development. This follows the development of a national policy statement and the establishment of a cross departmental group, co-chaired by my Department. Financial support for this developments includes through my Department's competitive research and Rural Development Programme funding, through the BiOrbic Bioeconomy Research Centre (through Science Foundation Ireland) and the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation (through Enterprise Ireland) building coalitions and public-private partnerships for co-investment with leading innovative companies, co-operatives and farmers.

There are a number of excellent examples of farmer and agri-business engagement with the Bioeconomy. These include: the development, through EU funding, of a biorefinery for dairy waste in Lisheen, Co. Tipperary; the development of a marine biorefinery in Co. Monaghan; and the development of Carbon-Neutral demonstration farm in Shinagh Farm, Co. Cork . My Department also supports a grass small-scale biorefinery demonstration project in Co. Cork under out EIP initiative, as part of our Rural Development Programme.

My Department has recently announced the following further actions to further bioeconomy development:

The allocation of 8 million euro reseach funding recently committed to a number of projects to support the generation of knowledge in the areas of agriculture, forestry and food and the bioeconomy.

The imminent establishment of a bioeconomy forum to provide a voice for a broad range of stakeholders in the bioeconomy including the agri-food industry, primary producers, relevant state bodies and community groups and which will be set up shortly.

The recent running of Bioeconomy Ireland Week 2020 to raise awareness of the bioeconomy and its products and to work with both public and private stakeholder to present ongoing research, innovation, demonstration, primary production, industrial, product and market activities that highlight how the bioeconomy is developing and being structured and mobilised in Ireland.

In conclusion, my Department and our partners across government are playing a leading role in the development of the bioeconomy and for the benefit of farmers, fishermen and agri-business.


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