A co-operative representative body has said that its members across the dairy, livestock and rural enterprise sectors are willing to play their part and will contribute “constructively” to the achievement of the Climate Action Plan.

However, the president of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS), Jerry Long, has also said: “The approach by Government must always remain balanced and supportive of Ireland’s leading, sustainable, grass-fed model of production.”

The Government’s Climate Action Plan has been described as “very demanding for the agri-food sector”; however, Long also said that the sector “must play its part in delivering a low carbon future for the next generation”.

Continuing, Long said: “Farmers and the wider agri-food sector should be under no illusions that the action plan, as set out by the Government, will require a significant effort by all stakeholders working collaboratively if we are to achieve the 10-15% reduction target.”

The ICOS president noted that the plan includes very demanding targets for the agri-food sector including:
  • Increasing the usage of protected urea from 1% of the straight nitrogen market today to 50% by 2030;
  • Increasing the usage of trailing shoe technology for slurry spreading from 10% to 50% by 2030;
  • Increasing the average EBI from €70 today to €230 by 2030;
  • Doubling average afforestation rates from 5,500ha per annum today to 10,000ha per annum by 2030.

“We welcome the collaborative approach emphasised by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, and the establishment of new industry working groups on low-emission fertilisers,” Long concluded.