Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle T.D addressed the “BioFarm 2019 - Ireland’s Biological Farming Conference” in Portlaoise earlier this week, which focused on the capabilities of Irish agriculture to combat climate change.
Minister Doyle highlighted the options available to farmers in this respect through his Department’s Organic Farming Scheme and Agro-Forestry Scheme. Noting the many benefits of agro-forestry discussed at the conference, Minister Doyle pointed out the substantial grants available of €6,220 per hectare under the Agro-Forestry Scheme together with an annual premium of up to €660 per hectare. He added that the agro-forestry system “.. is ideally suited to farmers who are interested in forestry but who also wish to keep their land in agricultural production and I therefore believe that it merits serious consideration.”
Addressing the issue of climate change the Minister noted that “Ireland’s food producers and farmers have a remarkable reputation internationally in terms of the sustainability of the food and drink we produce”. Acknowledging that further action is needed in adapting to the consequences of climate change, reducing vulnerability and achieving sustainable development, he pointed out that his Department has recently published a first Agriculture, Forest and Seafood Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan to help deliver on these objectives.
He concluded by saying that: “There are opportunities out there, the market is demanding a more sustainable product and our grass-based livestock system is one of the best, but we know we can, and must do better”.