IIEA to help Irish food producers become world’s greenest27 May 2009
Experts to help Irish food producers become world’s greenest
Ireland aims to become a world leader in sustainable agriculture and food production by 2020, under an ambitious new initiative unveiled today.
The Dublin-based Institute of International and European Affairs has brought together leading experts to prepare a strategy to reduce the carbon footprint of Irish agriculture in the coming decade.
Senior figures from Irish agriculture, food processing and retail will work with scientists and economists to identify a package of measures to reduce the environmental impact at every stage of food production ‘from farm to fork’. Their findings will be submitted to the Government later in the year.
The objective of the strategy will be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Irish agriculture substantially as a contribution to the national target of a 20% cut by 2020, while simultaneously helping the sector gear up for a huge predicted increase in worldwide demand for food.
Ensuring that these reductions do not come at the cost of competitiveness will be a key consideration for members of the working group established to drive this project. In addition to proposing measures to cut emissions they will examine methods of ‘offsetting’ greenhouse gases generated by farming.
Michael Dowling – former Secretary General of Ireland’s Department of Agriculture and now Head of Agri Strategy at Allied Irish Bank– will chair the group’s steering committee.
“Our brief is a clear one: to build on Ireland’s strong green credentials by developing a strategy to ensure that our nation is a world leader in the sustainable production of agriculture and food. The strategy will be a response to the new challenges facing the agriculture and food sectors in the 21st century.’’
IIEA Director General Jill Donoghue, who will sit on the steering committee said those involved recognised the scale of the challenge and its huge importance to the country.
“By 2020 Ireland will be producing 40% of its electricity from renewable sources, which is something that would have been unthinkable even ten years ago. We see sustainable food production as an equally big opportunity for the country,” she said.
“What we are addressing is one of the key issues for the world as a whole, which is how we can feed the planet without placing increasing stress on the environment”.
It is hoped that the strategy produced by the group would contribute to the Government’s Smart Economy Plan, which is intended to provide a framework for sustainable economic renewal.
Members of the steering committee include Michael Dowling; Jill Donoghue; Senator Feargal Quinn, founder of the Superquinn supermarket chain; Frank O’Mara, Teagasc (Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority); Aidan Cotter, Bord Bia (Irish Food Board); Brendan Kearney, agricultural economist; Sean O’Leary, Irish Farmers Association; Michael Barry, Food and Drink Industry Ireland; and Joseph Curtin, IIEA.
For further information please contact:
Joseph Curtin: firstname.lastname@example.org +353 (0) 1 8773018
Notes to Editors:
Members of the working group:
Organisations represented on the working group include: the Irish Farmers Association, Food and Drink Industry Ireland, Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society, Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association, Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association, Teagasc (Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Bord Bia (Irish Food Board), Green Energy Growers Association (Ireland), Environmental Protection Agency, Sustainable Energy Ireland, Meat Industry Ireland, Retail Ireland, University College Dublin, Macra na Feirme (voluntary organisation for young people), Irish Grain and Feed Association, Fertilizer Association of Ireland, Coford (National Council for Forest Research and Development), Dawn Meats and Glanbia.
The Institute of International and European Affairs is a policy research think-tank and forum based in Dublin. Founded in 1991 it is a registered charity and independent of all political, economic and social interests.
Individual members include former heads of state and senior figures from the political world, government departments, the judiciary, business and academia together with trade unions and NGOs.
The Institute has been actively following the development of EU climate change policy and its implications for Ireland for a number of years and launched a report on the implications of EU climate policy for Ireland entitled ‘The Climate Change Challenge’ in September 2008.
The impetus for the working group came from a conference ‘The Greening of Irish Agriculture’ held by IIEA at Dublin Castle in January and attended by more than 200 delegates.
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