Citizens’ Assembly on agriculture and food production

The foot-dragging by Government on agreeing sectoral climate targets is shameful. It’s time for a national dialogue on the future of Ireland’s Agriculture sector.

Labour is very clear that every sector will have to play a fair share in cutting emissions in order to achieve the overall 51% reduction enshrined in our climate legislation. The evidence is clear, the cuts that will have to be made across the Agriculture sector will have to be at the higher end of the scale proposed – closer to 30% than 22%.

However, this is not an insurmountable challenge and not one that we should fear. We need to have a national conversation on what the future of agriculture would look like.

In order to take the next steps together, free of political short-termism, Labour is calling on Government to convene a Citizens’ Assembly on the future of Agriculture and Food productions in Ireland.

Such an assembly could consider everything, from our food strategy to innovative and green ways of farming.

Our way of working needs to change and Government has a responsibility to deliver a Just Transition to our farming communities to lower emissions and protect livelihoods. That involves more farmers being paid to sequester carbon.

A free market approach will not deliver sustainable agriculture and decent farm incomes. A Citizens’ Assembly must look at how we find solutions to these challenges.

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