Significant changes in how we produce food required – Varadkar


Significant changes in how we produce food required – Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD Photo Gareth Chaney Collins
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD Photo Gareth Chaney Collins

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar has said that significant changes to the way we produce food will be required if agri-food sector is to reduce its emissions.

He was commenting on the publication of the report of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action.

The main recommendations of the draft report call for the full implementation of Teagasc proposals to cut emissions from the sector.

In total, the state agency identified twenty-eight measures which, if implemented could deliver up to 17.2 mtCO2 equivalent emissions savings between 2021 and 2030, representing a substantial contribution to meeting our 2030 emissions targets.

Its proposals include changes to the types of fertiliser used on farms, improved genetics of farm animals and low emission slurry spreading.

Teagasc have also said that wood biomass and anaerobic digestion of animal manures to produce biogas offers an opportunity for fossil fuel displacement.

The Taoiseach said the Government is keen to work with farmers and the agrifood industry to reduce emissions.

“We need to do that in a way that recognises we need to protect the incomes and livelihoods of farmers and the agrifood industry and we will work with those industries to reduce emissions, modernise farming and reform the CAP, in particular, to make it more green-focused.

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“That will require significant changes in the way we produce food and we are up for that challenge and want to do it in a collaborative way,” he said.

The IFA has said that the  Teagasc climate roadmap represents a clear strategy for kick-starting a vibrant farm scale and community-based renewables sector and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the sector.

IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney added “Agriculture deserves to have a fairer representation of its climate actions. For example, our carbon sinks from Ireland’s permanent pastures, hedgerows and forestry have to be included when it comes to climate change and agriculture.

“Farmers are engaged in climate action. From a carbon efficiency perspective, we are best in class. We expect the Oireachtas Climate Committee to take full account of the potential economic and social impact on farm families and the wider rural economy.”

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