Ireland can be become a global leader in climate-smart agriculture, according to 86% of respondents to a new survey due to be released later today at a leadership forum on climate-smart agriculture in the RDS.

The survey was conducted by the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) and the RDS, with the support of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII), Diageo, and other private and public sector partners.

The survey reached a national and international sample of experts and industry stakeholders. Over four-fifths, or 86%, of respondents from the national sample, which included non-government organisations (NGOs), government, agri-business, researchers and farmers, said establishing Irish leadership on climate-smart agriculture could directly benefit the agri-food sector.

Boosting Exports

However, with the government aiming to boost the value of our agri-food exports by 85% to €19 billion over the next decade, 80% of respondents from the national sample said meeting these objectives is made challenging by our EU obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The respondents were also very clear on the domestic action required to establish Ireland as a global leader on climate-smart agriculture. They identified better use of fertiliser, boosting research and innovation, and optimising land use as among the most important success factors.

Almost nine out of 10, or 87%, said economically and environmentally optimising our land resource, between dairy, beef, tillage and forestry, is a key climate-smart strategy.

Tom Arnold, the IIEA’s Director General, said: “We hope that the climate-smart agriculture leadership forum will catalyse new thinking on climate-smart agriculture, with a shift towards more sustainable environmental and economic solutions for an industry whose scale is domestic and global.”

Seán Molloy, GII’s Director of Strategy and Supplier Relations, said: “Ireland’s agri-food sector is strong, and GII’s commitment to quality of source ingredients, security of supply, and sustainability are key components of our customer value proposition.”

“Already, GII’s pasture-based family farming method of dairying produces a highly sustainable range of quality ingredients. We have prioritised sustainability as a key business focus in our Open Source Sustainability and Quality Assurance Code,” added Molloy.

The IIEA – RDS leadership forum on climate-smart agriculture will take place at 2.30pm today (Thursday) in the RDS, Dublin.