The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney attended a meeting of the EU Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers in Luxembourg this week.

Speaking at the meeting the Minister used the opportunity to reinforce Ireland’s commitment to climate-smart agriculture.

“It is important to encourage a coherent approach to agriculture and land use and to incorporate the critical role that afforestation and forest management plays in carbon sequestration,” said Minister Coveney.

At the meeting, ministers held an exchange of views on the contribution of agriculture to climate change mitigation.

This debate was organised in the light of the adoption of the 2030 EU climate and energy package which set substantial cuts for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) for the year 2030.

It comes also on the eve of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris beginning in November this year.

They agreed that although agriculture is a source of GHG it also participates directly or indirectly in the reduction of emissions. In this regard, the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), in particular the greening of the direct payments is an important tool to consider.

“From the debate we had today, it seems that the strengthening of the link between science and agricultural practice including knowledge transfer is a path worth exploring to tackle climate change challenges in the agricultural sector.

“The involvement of the farmers in the climate change mitigation is essential,” said Fernand Etgen, President of the Council.