The specifics of what the forthcoming carbon budget and Climate Action Plan will mean for agriculture are still being awaited, but Minister Eamon Ryan said that “radical” change awaits the sector.
Speaking today (Tuesday, September 14) as the Green Party held its two-day think-in in Dundrum, the environment minister said that while it will be radical, it will be “change for the better”.
The Climate Change Advisory Council will present its carbon budget in the two weeks, and the minister said the government will then “respond” with Ireland’s new Climate Action Plan.
He added that there is “huge complexity around the different sectors”, with a “very different situation in forestry compared to land use involved with rewetting, and agriculture itself”.
He said that the change to come “has to be complemented with an income stream and it has to be for all farms”.
“There’s a lot of farms on very marginal incomes, and I think they’re central and critical to addressing the climate and biodiversity crises,” the minister said.
He emphasised that farming livelihoods need to be “improved”.
“I think actually what’s happening at the moment is not good enough for Irish farming. We need new payments and new streams of income.
“The current system doesn’t serve most farmers and that needs to change.”
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett said as “we’re at the final stages of the development of the new Common Agricultural Policy, that’s more mechanism in our toolkit to support farmers really transition to this more environmentally, nature way of farming”.
“The needs of the environment, the needs of the land have to come to the fore and how we support our farmers to work to deliver,” the minister added.
“There’s a lot of exciting things coming up. I think it’s going to be an opportunity. I know it’s challenging, a tricky space – but it’s something that we’re really having to embrace and we will embrace. I’ve every faith in our farming community to do it.”
Movement on a number of agri-political issues can be expected as the Dáil summer recess comes to a close this week.
The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine met today to discuss the Nitrates Action Programme and issues related to the forestry industry.
The Dáil will sit tomorrow (Wednesday) for the first time this term, with the Seanad resuming next week (Tuesday, September 21).