A TD for the Tipperary constituency has said that he regards climate change as “an economic opportunity for farming”.

Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill has said that agriculture will have to adapt in response to the recently announced Climate Action Plan.

Speaking to AgriLand, Cahill explained: “We have to be sensible about things to meet the challenges and requirements.”

He noted that despite this “the population of the world has to be fed as well, and we can’t make our farmers uncompetitive”.

Cahill added: “There are great ideas out there for farmers to get involved in the bioeconomy, but we need incentives in place and fixed contracts.

If people are going to grow crops for the bioeconomy, they need a five-year contract in place and it has to be at a viable return.

“We shouldn’t be using a stick to force people out of any sector but we should put incentives in place that will give them alternatives.”

Commenting on reports that the Mercosur deal is nearing conclusion, Cahill warned that, if passed, it could allow 100,000t of extra beef to come into Europe from South America.

He questioned how it could be consistent – with what the EU are trying to do on climate change – “to bring beef from South America to undermine beef prices in Europe and at the same time expect our farmers to produce food competitively with the climate change targets that have to be met”.

Concluding, Cahill said: “These trade deals that are going to sacrifice European farmers are not consistent with climate change and meeting climate obligations.”