IFA President Eddie Downey said the outcome of the climate talks in Brussels today was welcome and represents a significant acknowledgement of the multi-functional role of agriculture. The agreement secures important commitments as part of the EU strategy up to 2030.
Eddie Downey said, “IFA has always insisted that our model of sustainable food production should not be jeopardised in these discussions. Government strongly supported this position with Taoiseach Enda Kenny adopting a strong negotiating stance this week. The outcome provides a framework that can safeguard Ireland’s carbon-efficient agriculture sector”.
He said, “Ireland’s agri-food sector supports 300,000 jobs right across the country, is the largest exporter of beef in Europe, produces 15% of the world’s infant formula and has overall food exports of over €10 billion. This is being achieved sustainably. Ireland’s beef and dairy farmer’s carbon footprint is among the lowest in Europe, as verified by Carbon Trust and others”.
Eddie Downey said IFA will continue to press for sustainable policies at EU level that will allow Irish farmers to play their part in mitigation measures.
On bio-energy, he said the Government must renew its commitment to an indigenous bioenergy sector following the European Council’s decision to increase the use of renewable energy to 27% in these talks. “Bio-energy represents a real farm diversification opportunity. It will also deliver important national and EU renewable energy and climate targets. The Government must come forward with specific policy actions and a timeframe for the delivery of these to kick-start a vibrant and sustainable bio-energy sector in Ireland.”