Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Questions (58)

Martin Heydon


58. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his priorities under the recently published Climate Action Plan 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28263/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The All-of-Government Plan to tackle climate breakdown sets out a series of step-up measures and underpinning actions and proposed targets for all sectors including the agriculture, forestry and land use sector.

The plan identifies 34 actions for the agriculture sector that will contribute to our transition to a low carbon economy and society across abatement measures, which reduce our emissions, carbon sequestration measures which is carbon removal and displacement of fossil fuels and reflects our three pillar policy approach to achieving carbon neutrality without comprising sustainable food production. Not alone are our sustainability ambitions driven by regulatory compliance but also by market demand with today's consumer seeking confirmation of our sustainability credentials.

To achieve the challenging target for the sector as set out in this plan will require immediate action through early adoption and high levels of take-up of the actions identified across our 139,00 plus family farms.

I see three important actions that can be advanced immediately.

- Deepening engagement with farmers and other stakeholders along the food supply chain to promote the necessary deployment of new technologies and improvement in farming practices;

- Improving nitrogen use efficiency such as widespread adoption of low emissions slurry spreading, introduction of clover in grassland swards and more efficient use of fertilisers; and

- Continuing our support for research and innovation such as animal breeding, improved grassland and fertiliser management and examining the potential of novel feed additives in grass based production systems.

Ongoing negotiations on the future of the next Common Agricultural Policy will ensure that our ambition in this area is aligned with European and national policy while also recognising the importance of a sustainable and viable agricultural sector to rural communities.

I will continue to work with my colleagues across Government to ensure successful implementation of the plan. I am also confident that the agriculture sector as a whole will contribute significantly to Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy and society with collaboration, co-operation and collective responsibility being key in achieving this ambition and realising the potential of pro-active engagement.

Question No. 59 answered orally.