With additional reporting by Stella Meehan

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that the carbon budget planned for agriculture and other sectors “will be challenging” as Ireland aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 2030.

The Taoiseach was speaking to Agriland during the official opening of the National Food Innovation Hub at Moorepark, Co. Cork today (Friday, September 17).

In relation to the recommendations for budgets for the agriculture sector, Micheál Martin said: “Obviously the Minister for Agriculture is in discussions with the Minister for Climate – Charlie McConalogue and Eamon Ryan and their officials are in discussions in terms of the precise figures and targets.

“We have an overall target as you know, the government, over the next decade.

“They will be challenging for all sectors, very challenging indeed, in terms of meeting those targets.

“That’s why research centres like Moorepark, who work with industry and who work with other research centres at UCC [University College Cork] and the Munster Technological University – they are so important now in helping us deal with very, very challenging issues as we evolve, and as we try and deal with climate change,” the Taoiseach added.

Reducing carbon emissions in agriculture

In the debate about climate change, restrictions on the national herd number in order to reduce carbon emissions is something that has been floated by some interests.

Speaking to journalists at Moorepark today, Micheál Martin said: “The government position is that we want to stabilise the national herd.

“I think what’s important is that we continue to invest in research to make sure that we can increase added value, but also make our contribution to the climate change agenda, which is important, and all sectors of society will have to do that, including the agriculture sector.

“Sustainability will be the key to food production into the future.

“Ireland is a significant food producer and food exporter, but also in terms of environmental standards and sustainability, our food production system is one of the most efficient in Europe on the dairy side and on the beef side, and globally as well,” the Taoiseach added.

National Food Innovation Hub

 carbonTaoiseach at national food innovation hub
Taoiseach Micheál Martin arriving at the new National Food Innovation Hub in Co. Cork Image: Teagasc

Taoiseach Micheál Martin officially opened the new National Food Innovation Hub at Moorepark today.

The €8.8 million investment from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is a newly-constructed facility adjoining the Food Research Centre.

The hub is designed to provide secure, confidential office and lab spaces for lease to food companies to base their research and development teams.

The purpose is to allow these teams to collaborate with Teagasc food scientists.