Farm Ireland

Friday 26 April 2019

Debatable whether FoodWise and climate change targets are compatible- Jackie Cahill

Claire Fox

Claire Fox

FoodWise 2025 production targets are becoming more incompatible with climate targets, Fianna Fail TD Jackie Cahill has said.

Speaking at a meeting of the Joint Agriculture Committee and Rural Development committee to discuss CAP Pillar I and Pillar II, the Tipperary TD said it's time a spotlight was shone on FoodWise 2025 in the backdrop of post 2020 CAP negotiations which are putting an increased focus on the environment.

“Climate change challenges and FoodWise targets are becoming more and more incompatible as we go forward. We have to face up to the harsh truths. The carrot is always better than a stick. Incentives to meet targets and reduce emissions have to be apart of CAP,” Mr Cahill pointed out.

“Foodwise 2025 needs to come under the spotlight, we need to ask ourselves are the targets set down compatible with climate change is debatable at this stage.”

Foodwise 2025 targets include a 65pc increase in primary production in Ireland and an 85pc increase in exports. At present 33pc of emissions come from agriculture in Ireland.

In response to Mr Cahill, Colm Hayes, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Agriculture said that CAP should be part of a solution to climate change challenges and that agriculture shouldn’t “get a free pass” when it comes to reaching environmental targets.

“We see the next CAP as part of the solution to climate change. We are interested to see what the Oireachtas Committee on climate change will report in the coming weeks,” said Mr Hayes.

“We’re intensely engaged with Minister Bruton on climate change. There is no free pass for agriculture and we don’t see it that way.  We are doing a lot on it at present such as the Beef Data and Genomics Programme and low emission slurry spreading.

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“Our Minister has been clear on sustainable intensification. We know Irish beef and dairy are top of the class but we can do more and stakeholders want to do more. There needs to be a balance between food production and environmental obligations must always be borne in mind. We view the CAP very much as the next solution.”

Jack Nolan of the Department of Agriculture said that talks with Minister Bruton are ongoing and that farmers themselves  can make use of dairy EBI, fertiliser and reducing protein intake of animals to improve their carbon footprint

“There is a lot more to do on climate change. CAP will play a major part. Agriculture makes up two thirds of land so what we do to the land has an effect. We need to take action now. CAP won’t solve all the problems, it’s only part of the solution.”

TDs also called for real simplification to the CAP and for more clarity on the definition of an active farmer.

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