The Labour Party has released its manifesto, outlining its election promises.
The manifesto states that under this political party, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will develop and implement a plan to ensure that everyone can access “healthy, nutritious food at an affordable price”.
“It will create new opportunities for farmers and workers in these sectors to raise their incomes.”
The Department, the document added, will take a “lead role” in the development of sustainable farming, fishing and forestry in Ireland, helping to create new jobs in all regions of the country
- Create a Brexit contingency fund to support sectors of the economy facing negative consequences for jobs and livelihoods from Brexit, including a scheme to support the sector in the case of fluctuations in the value of the British pound;
- A “fairer distribution” of income for small and disadvantaged farmers under the upcoming reform of CAP, while also pushing for increased environmental incentives;
- Create a farm income diversification scheme to help boost farm family incomes and to promote alternative, sustainable uses of farmland;
- A range of supports for farmers, including by reintroducing the Early Retirement Scheme (ERS3), extending TAMS II beyond 2020 and implementing a standardised and simplified hedge cutting grant scheme for farmers;
- Labour will “support the growth of diverse and organic” farming methods to enhance biodiversity outcomes in the agricultural sector;
- Enforce and enhance dog breeding law (the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010), to inspect establishments and enforce robust penalties to deter bad actors;
- Develop and implement a national food strategy, based on the principle “that everyone should be able to afford a healthy, nutritious diet”;
- Introduce stricter regulations for sale or marketing of high fat, sugar and salt foods to children, including on social media and in schools;
- Ban food waste by supermarkets and large retail chains, learning the lessons from a similar policy implemented in France. Surplus food will be redistributed via charities, or else reused in animal feed or recycled into other products (e.g. compost), but not permitted in landfill or incineration where other options are available.
- Will require all food imported by airplane to be clearly labelled as such, to give consumers transparency and choice. “Reducing the consumption of food carried by air will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support native growers and seasonal produce. Labour will review this policy and consider further restrictions on importing food by air.”
- Instruct the Department, along with Coillte and the National Council for Forest Research and Development, to develop and implement an ambitious national strategy for forestry and the bio-economy of new products made from wood pulp, including biodegradable industrial foams and plastic substitutes.
It said that this comes with a view to further increasing the amount of land under forest cover and striking the “right balance” between continuous cover, native species and commercial Sitka Spruce growing with an objective to maximise carbon capture, biodiversity and sustainable jobs.