Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Questions (390)

Tony McLoughlin


390. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether suckler cow farmers from counties Sligo and Leitrim will benefit from an increased price for their animals if the growing international trend of food being classified as carbon-neutral food arrives here in view of the high level of forestry and carbon reduction plants in the counties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40831/18]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

It should be noted, that in accordance with competition law, neither I, nor my Department, have a role in determining prices for any commodity including suckler beef.

However, I am keenly aware of the importance of the suckler sector to Ireland's rural economy and the wider agri-food industry. The sector is an integral component to the overall vitality and continued strength of beef farming in rural Ireland. My Department currently provides a range of income and investment supports to suckler farmers, including direct payments and grant schemes such as BPS, ANC, GLAS and TAMS, as well as the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), many of which have also significant benefits in terms of environmental sustainability.

Origin Green is the world's first national food and drink sustainability programme, bringing together all actors in the food supply chain – from farmers to food producers, retailers to food service operators – with the common goal of achieving more sustainable food production. Bord Bia's consumer insight research has established that such sustainability credentials are increasingly important for both consumers and retail customers world-wide.

My Department continues to actively engage in the whole of government approach on carbon neutral initiatives to examine the best means of encouraging sustainable development of Irish food production systems, while optimising the sector's contribution to greenhouse gas mitigation and sequestration including through afforestation and other forest sector activities.