Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Departmental Funding

Photo of Jennifer Carroll MacNeillJennifer Carroll MacNeill (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

169. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of funding available to research projects to help farmers reduce their carbon footprint; the projects that are currently under way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16787/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The decarbonisation of agriculture and mitigating its contribution to climate change is a core ambition of this Government. Critical to this is the role that research, innovation and knowledge exchange plays in providing the strategies and practices that farmers can implement to reduce the carbon footprint of their farms.

The Department funds research in this area through national and international competitive funding mechanisms that over the last 6 years have allocated up to €30 million on climate, GHG emission mitigation and climate-related co-benefit research. Coupled to this is the grant-in-aid allocation to Teagasc, such as the €147m provided in 2021, which is directed towards research and farmer advisory activities related to climate-smart and sustainable agriculture.

Examples of projects funded by my Department which will feed into knowledge and strategies to reduce farm carbon footprints include:

- ‘Farm-Carbon’ which is exploring the contribution of on farm hedgerows and non-forest woodland to carbon stocks in agricultural landscapes.

- ‘SQUARE’, which includes identifying soils that have a high capacity to sequester carbon.

- ‘SmartGrass’ and ‘SmartSward’ which researched multi-species swards, and also served to inform the recently announced Multi-species Sward Measure as part of a support package to farmers worth €12m.

More recently, the strong commitment of my Department to research in support of reducing carbon footprints was further demonstrated by last year’s national research call, where over €12 million in funding awards was made to 10 projects in climate and environment related research, accounting for 60% of the overall spend in this call. One of the projects funded, ‘LAB-MACC’, will quantify mitigation associated with a range of new measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance land carbon sinks, and displace fossil fuel emissions, while another, ‘REWET’, will investigate how developing actions to restore the water table on drained carbon-rich soils can enhance carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere.

The Food Vision 2030 Strategy also points to the need for Irish research to build partnerships and collaboration internationally. This is an area that my Department has been active in. In 2021 for example, up to €2.5million was committed through European initiatives to research calls in the areas of GHG emission reduction and soil Carbon sequestration. We have also been longstanding members of the Global Research Alliance for Agricultural Greenhouse Gasses and more recently, have partnered on the United States-United Arab Emirates led initiative, the ‘Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate’, which will lead to an increased investment in climate related research.

Considering the wide range of research initiatives that are taking place and the ambitious recommendations for the role of research into the future under Food Vision 2030, I am confident that a strong pipeline of scientific advancements and knowledge is in place, which will help farmers to reduce the carbon footprint of their farms, while also contributing to a sustainable and resilient sector over the next decade.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.