Greens’ manifesto proposes bonus for ‘zero-movement’ beef

The Green Party has released its manifesto for the upcoming General Election, devoting several pages of it to agriculture, food, land use and related issues.

Among the party’s proposals is a Bord Bia-funded bonus for ‘zero-movement’ beef – cattle which are born, reared and slaughtered from their farm of origin.

This proposal comes under the section relating to animal welfare, which also includes a proposal to ban the export of livestock for slaughter in non-EU countries, as well as “phase-out” the live export of unweaned calves by “exploring other market opportunities”.

The Green Party also supports the introduction of ‘honest labelling’ for animal products, which would include details such as methods of rearing and production.

The party will also seek to develop a “high-welfare outdoor-reared pig sector”. All these welfare policies are to be supported, the party says, by measures under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) “which will support those implementing higher welfare standards”.

Also on CAP, the manifesto says that the Green Party will “unequivocally support reforms to the
CAP to reward farmers for sequestering carbon, restoring biodiversity and producing clean energy”. The party is also calling for a transfer of funds from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 to “support results-based outcomes”.

The ‘Greens’ said that such reforms should benefit farmers rather than “large-scale agricultural enterprises”. The party also supports CAP convergence.

Other key points in the Green Party manifesto include:

  • An assessment of the remit and funding of state agencies such as Teagasc and Bord Bia;
  • An increase in the land being farmed organically to 20% by 2030;
  • The launch of a marketing initiative to encourage consumers to buy locally-grown, pesticide-free food;
  • Support for the establishment of local food processing facilities for local food producers;
  • The establishment of a National Action Plan on Biodiversity;
  • Assisting young farmers in getting access to land and introducing legislative, legal and financial mechanisms to facilitate lease agreements between farmers;
  • Ensuring that agricultural education courses include “adequate training” in the areas of biodiversity and climate and environmental protection;
  • Keeping Ireland GMO free at this time.

The party is also advocating for “replacing the diesel subsidy to farmers with an incentivisation programme for the use of environmentally-sustainable alternatives”.

On forestry, the Green Party says it wants to move away from “large-scale monoculture of fast-growing
species such as Sitka spruce on marginal land”, and instead move towards a “mixed, diverse forestry, with a wider range of services, benefits and forest products”.

As part of this target, the party wants to set a goal of 20,000 additional hectares of afforested land every year for the next decade.

The party also committed to developing a new afforestation programme which would start with the payment of a special planting grant to 120,000 farmers for the planting of one hectare of woodland on their farm.