Food Wise 2025 and climate change

 

Sir, – The emphasis on increasing output and value in Food Wise 2025 (“New plan targets €19bn in food and drink exports by 2025,” July 3rd) would be understandable if there was equal emphasis on climate change issues related to agriculture and its expansion.

But there is not, and reassurances regarding Ireland’s clean reputation and the intention to hold a public consultation and to complete an environmental impact assessment later in the year are of little comfort.

The overall strategy is announced and is unlikely to change significantly whatever their outcome. However, it is of dubious benefit to the agriculture industry to raise expectations which may be severely dampened in the not so distant future.

Investments at farm and processing level are costly and need serious policy underpinning. It would be better to launch a new complementary strategy such as “Agriculture and Climate Change 2025”. Give it relevant terms of reference, a knowledgeable strategy committee as well as a reasonable timeframe in which to report.

The outcome of both strategies (really they should be Green Papers) should then be merged to provide some real policy shape which might address legitimate expectations regarding increasing agricultural output and respecting Ireland’s international climate obligations.

Without such balance, future problems are inevitable not just for agriculture but for all society. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL HAMELL

Adjunct professor of

agriculture, UCD,

Oughterard,

Co Galway.