‘Becoming a world-class leader in the battle to produce climate-friendly food’

Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture – and MEP candidate – Andrew Doyle has indicated this week that he wants Ireland to become a world leader in climate-friendly food production.

He says too that there are solutions to be found to the food security problems in Africa and that people everywhere need to become more aware of where the food they are purchasing in supermarkets comes from.

“We want to be leaders in climate-friendly food production and we can pave the way, not just in Europe, but across the world,” he said during a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) meeting in Portlaoise on Monday, May 20.

Minister Doyle was speaking alongside Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy during proceedings that were chaired by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan.

“If we don’t look at land solutions to deal with climate change we’re at nothing,” Minister Doyle added.

Growing population

Meanwhile, the Climate Change Commission recently presented a paper and acknowledged the issue of producing food for a growing world population, the minister continued.

The population, he added, is going to grow by two billion by the end of the century.

The minister of state went on then to highlight the importance of supporting innovation and research on new technology and decarbonising the planet through land use options.         

“Driving around the countryside this year, the greenery really stands out – and is probably the envy of many other countries,” continued Minister Doyle, before pointing to Ireland’s obligations in the climate-friendly food-production race.

He also expressed his belief that Ireland is obliged to strive to be a leader in climate-friendly food production and to bring it to the developing world where, he contended, there is great potential.

He then pointed to the Great Green Wall in sub-Saharan Africa.

Green farming model

He added that many of the issues with food in Africa can be resolved.

“We can deal with a lot of the issues in Africa by presenting a green farming model – which we have – and we can develop,” Doyle continued.

“It’s very difficult when somebody throws at you that 34% of the emissions from Ireland are from agriculture; particularly when you could facetiously say that maybe we will bring in 10 steel mills and a couple of car plants, and drop the percentage but not do anything good or bad for the efficiency.

That’s the sort of argument we have to counteract.

Doyle then pointed to people’s perception of where food comes from.

“There’s a narrative out there; what I sometimes wonder is where do these people think that the food that lands on the supermarket shelves comes from?

“We really have to tell the story because it can be hard to get a word in when it comes to climate change.

“When entities like the Climate Change Commission over in Brussels see the potential, surely it’s only reasonable that we’re allowed to bring forward our proposals. That’s what I want to do,” he concluded.