The Potential for Greenhouse Gas Mitigation within the Agriculture and Forestry Sector
The agri-food sector is one of Ireland’s most important indigenous manufacturing industries, employing in the region of 50,000 people directly, as well as providing the primary outlet for the produce of 128,000 family farms. ICOS members are at the heart of this industry with over 12,000 of these employees being directly employed by member co-operatives in Ireland, and many of the family farm unit’s owner members of these co-operatives across a range of agri business sectors. Nationally, ICOS plays a key role in ensuring Ireland’s export-led economic recovery while it also provides the foundation for sustainable rural development. The co-operative agricultural economy faces the challenges of reducing GHG emissions while responding to an increased need for food from a growing global population and rising affluence. Independent Joint Research Centre work completed in Brussels by the European Commission shows that dairy and beef production in Ireland is highly efficient and the volume of production is such that substantial emissions reductions have already been achieved by improvements in farm practices such as manure management, energy use, improved breeding and grassland management. Over the next 10 years, our responsibilities around sustainability and greenhouse gas mitigation will be a key component of the success or failure of our growth plans.
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