The ICSA has called on the government to spend more on supporting agriculture if the sector is to reach its climate targets.
Dermot Kelleher, its president, believes that while all countries in the EU are focused on climate change, no country will destroy its own vital national interests.
“Germany will not sacrifice its car, or coal industries and Ireland must protect its vital agri-food sector.”
“It will be almost impossible to meet the agriculture climate change targets unless the government delivers a substantially higher investment in the sector, while also recognising the role played by agriculture in sequestering carbon.”
Agriculture climate targets
He said while we all need to meet the climate change challenge, Ireland needs to move in step with other EU states.
“There is no point in doing more than the other member states if the price is the destruction of every rural community in the country.”
Kelleher said producing food is not optional in a world where the population continues to grow rapidly.
“This means getting the balance right. Farmers are willing to play their part, but there must be realism as well.”
“Farmers have continuously put their money where others put their mouth when it comes to environmental investment.”
“However, the target of 21-30% reduction in emissions cannot be done by farmers out of their own pocket nor should they be expected to carry the burden of saving the planet on their own.”
He said it is “now obvious” that the government must put “significantly” more funding into the CAP programme than envisaged.
Funding for farmers
The farm leader said the following ICSA’s proposals “are now looking like the minimum” farmers will require:
- A €15,000 agri-environmental; scheme;
- A beef carbon efficiency payment on top of much higher supports for sucklers and sheep.
“This is particularly relevant in the context of maintaining a stable herd.”
“If the funding for the ICSA proposals is not forthcoming, then there is no hope whatsoever of achieving these targets.”
“ICSA will not accept any attempt to undermine the suckler herd or the beef finishing sector.”
Kelleher described these as “vital” national assets and critical to many rural communities.
“So ICSA is prepared to negotiate on how farming can play its part. It must be a balanced discussion that recognises that agriculture is sequestering carbon as well as reducing emissions.”