The publication of the draft Agri-Food Strategy 2030 is a crucial moment for the future of Irish agriculture, according to IFA president Tim Cullinan.
Cullinan said the draft document was a product of over 12 months of discussion and all parties around the table had to compromise somewhat to allow the document go out for consultation.
“The document does acknowledge the importance of the three pillars of sustainability – economic, environmental and social – and has an emphasis on farm viability, but there are aspects of it which will be more challenging for farmers,” he said.
“The next couple of months will be vital. All our commodity committees and our national council will be examining the document in real detail.
“Others decided to walk away, but it’s IFA’s intention to continue to work hard to influence the outcome so that commercial farming is supported.”
Cullinan said some of the proposed targets are very challenging and cannot be achieved without significant Government funding.
“Farmers are willing to play their part in climate action, and they must be at the centre of Government policy. They will be looking to the Government to provide support, investment and practical policy measures to allow them continue to produce quality food,” he said.
With CAP discussions running in parallel with the strategy's development, Cullinan stressed those in charge must have a firm focus on farm incomes.
The IFA president also reiterated that analysis of existing carbon sequestration needs to be completed before moving forward.
“The discussion around emissions in the sector has to take account of the carbon that is sequestered and stored on farms,” he concluded.