The Department of Agriculture have today published their Agri-Food 2030 Strategy. This strategy should outline the vision and objectives for the agri-food sector for the next decade, with the requirement to ensure the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the sector.

The Environmental Pillar, of which An Taisce is a member, denounced previous iterations of this strategy and formally left the agri-food 2030 committee on the grounds that the strategy, as drafted, was entirely inadequate to meet the social and environmental challenges we face.

Previous drafts of the strategy aimed to frame Ireland as a world leader in the production of sustainable food, while continuing to rely on growing the export market, with a reliance on ruminant based agriculture. The intensification of dairy production, with a 41% increase in dairy cow numbers to almost 1.5 million cows in the last 10 years, has been clearly identified as the main driver of water pollution, biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions and ammonia emissions, violating EU Directives and the Paris agreement. The strategy provided no credible solutions to address the impact of that model on the biodiversity and climate crises, or our rapidly declining water quality.

An Taisce will carefully consider the final draft to ascertain if the fundamental failures which we previously identified have been addressed. 

Dr. Elaine McGoff, Natural Environment Officer with An Taisce said: 

The failings in previous drafts were so fundamental that we will essentially be looking for an entirely different document with clear objectives and targets if our concerns are to be addressed.

Ireland needs a strategy which addresses the challenges we face, and charts a new course to a model which works with and protects nature and better supports small scale farmers.

The public are now being invited to have their say on the final draft, and An Taisce will be making its views known once it has fully considered the draft strategy and attendant environmental assessments.