Agriculture and Forestry

Grow Agriculture and Forestry

The Social Democrats understand that Agriculture and the Agri-Food sector must be supported as a key indigenous industry, a major employer and one of our biggest exporters. We recognise that the strength of the industry lies in targeting that support to the small and medium farmers whose incomes have been in decline in recent years. Ireland must take steps to protect their work and produce, and to market that high quality brand overseas.

At the same time, we should be encouraging farmers to take advantage of new opportunities for income generation. Climate change and extreme weather events present as serious a threat to farmers’ livelihoods as everyone else, perhaps more. By encouraging new farm practices such as biomass and renewable electricity generation, we can allow for new income supports to farmers as well as tackling harmful emissions.

Specific policy points

  • In a very competitive market, we understand the strength of Irish produce lies in its clean, high quality brand. We will take steps to protect and strongly trade from this brand, through a new green certification process. This label will apply to all Irish agricultural products that have reached the standard and will be strongly marketed abroad.
  • We will enhance the continued viability of the family farm by encouraging greater participation in agricultural co-operatives, thereby achieving more efficient uses of resources, allowing for larger-scale capital investment and better equipping farmers to compete.
  • We will tackle the increasing threats to the incomes of small scale family farms by providing supports for farmers who wish to increase the microgenerating capacity of their farms through small-scale wind, solar and other forms of clean energy generation. We will also encourage wide scale participation in the GLAS scheme.
  • We will provide extra incentive for the planting of trees for both longer-term carbon sequestration, and for the development of sustainable wood products and biomass.
  • We will work to enhance the tourism and amenity potential of our forested land.
  • We will continue other existing supports for afforestation, and will work to develop ambitious targets to 2030 for woodland coverage, including a vital concurrent target for Woodland Conservation and Sequestration.

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