Ireland

The 2030 vision for Ireland’s agri-food sector

The,Silhouette,Of,A,Farmer,,Stands,Near,A,Cow.,Milk

Ireland’s strategy is to achieve a climate-neutral food system by 2050, with verifiable progress by 2030, so that harmful greenhouse gas emissions (such as methane and ammonia) are reduced, remaining agricultural emissions are balanced by carbon sequestration (for example through increasing forests), and air, biodiversity and water quality are improved. 

The Irish Climate Action Plan 2023 and the Food Vision 2030 Strategy have set out ambitious plans for the Irish land and agri-food system, with a commitment to reduce emissions from agriculture by 25% by 2030.

The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine has partnered with EIT Climate-KIC – Europe’s largest climate innovation initiative – to work with public and private stakeholders in the Irish land and agri-food system to help accelerate its pathways to climate neutrality.

EIT Climate-KIC is applying its ‘Deep Demonstration’ model of innovation to the entire agri-food and bio-based value chain, from soil to farm to fork to society. This involves working with stakeholders from both public and private sectors, including finance and education, as well as civil society, to develop and deploy coordinated innovation actions that work – in practice and at scale – and to obtain insights and lessons about a range (‘portfolio’) of solutions. 

The Ireland Deep Demonstration partnership is going through the following roadmap:

  • Create a comprehensive ‘systems map’ of the sector, showing the key relationships, existing initiatives, and potential ‘levers of change’ for effective innovation interventions.
  • Identify a portfolio of coordinated, mutually reinforcing innovation solutions that will enable the Irish land and agri-food system to reach its environmental, social and economic targets.
  • Support the implementation of these solutions at scale, learning and iterating to accelerate the transition.

Learn moreDownload the infographic

COMMUNITY WEEK CONFERENCE From farm to fork: Shaping sustainable food systems

28 September, Dublin and online

Ireland's 2030 impact goals
25% reduction in agricultural emissions (=5.75 Mt CO2eq)
10% of farmed area prioritised for biodiversity
8,000 hectares of new forests per year
50% reduction in food waste per person
The impact of Ireland's agri-food sector
A,Farmer,Bringing,His,Cows,To,Be,Fed

According to the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, agriculture currently contributes 37% of the total greenhouse gases emitted in Ireland. This is almost three times the average in Europe and indicates the significance of agriculture in the Irish economy. Greenhouse gas emissions on Irish farms come primarily from:

  • methane belched by cattle and sheep
  • fertiliser use
  • animal excrement
  • diesel fuel

The latest estimates show that total emissions in the agriculture sector have increased by 15% from 1990 to 2021, mainly driven by a 17.7% increase in methane emissions from enteric fermentation and a 29.6% increase in emissions from manure management.

Doolin, County Clare, Ireland – Unsplash

Additional target mitigation measures for agriculture and land use by 2030

  • A reduction of at least 10% in biogenic methane.
  • A reduction of 5% (below 2005 levels) in ammonia emissions, to improve air quality.
  • A reduction of over 50% of nitrous oxide emissions associated with chemical fertiliser.
  • A reduction in nutrient losses from agriculture to water, to improve water quality by 50%.
  • At least 7.5% of utilisable agricultural area to be farmed organically.
  • Achieving 30% of marine protected areas, to improve seafood sustainability.
  • Double the sustainable production of biomass from forests to 2 million tonnes (by 2035).
The Deep Demonstration explores innovations across the entire Irish agri-food value chain, helping the sector accelerate climate action and develop greater resilience.
Resources
Map Ireland's land and agri-food system map

The map shows the key relationships, existing initiatives, and potential ‘levers of change’ for effective innovation interventions in the Irish land and agri-food system. Make sure to download it for optimal navigation.

Ireland's land and agri-food system map
Report Dealing with climate change and sustainability targets: The innovation potential for the Irish agri-food sector

Ireland can draw on a wide array of innovative solutions from circular and bioeconomy practices, carbon farming, alternative proteins, and nature-based solutions to achieve the goal of a sustainable food system. This report provides an overview of solutions that can be considered as a part of the portfolio development, during which innovation actions — including both policies and projects — are co-designed with public, private and civil society stakeholder actors.

Dealing with climate change and sustainability targets: The innovation potential for the Irish agri-food sector
Find out more All resources

Find here all resources related to the Ireland Deep Demonstration project, including further reports, workshop summaries, and Consultative Group meetings.

All resources
We are placing farmers and families at the centre of the transition, to demonstrate what healthy, just and regenerative societies can look like.
Stories from the Ireland Deep Demonstration

Ireland wants to embrace change, to mitigate its agricultural footprint, and to adapt to the effects that climate change is already having on its oldest and largest domestic sector. A sector that has seen a 50% increase in size in the last 10 years, with food exports at a record €15.4 billion in 2021. 

In 2021, the agri-food sector in Ireland:

  • Employed 170,400 people, representing 7.1% of the total workforce.
  • Saw a 36% increase in investment to over €1.39 billion.
  • Counted 135,000 farms, 2,000 fishing vessels and aquaculture sites, and 2,000 food production and beverage enterprises.

The stories you can read in this section capture the difficulties encountered by Irish farmers, fishers and forest owners, as well as their determination to meet these challenges head-on. But they also tell of the underlying hope in a beautiful, just and more sustainable future for the next generations. The Ireland Deep Demonstration project has uncovered a powerful red thread, in each conversation with the people we have met: the desire to find solutions that work, and the will to put them into practice.

If you’re a journalist and interested in interviewing one of our experts, download our press kit and get in touch with media@climate-kic.org.

Conference How radical collaboration is transforming food systems in Ireland

In our recent conference held in Dublin, key figures from government, academia, and the private sector gathered to discuss how we can work collectively towards sustainable food systems. Read more about their conclusions in this article.

How radical collaboration is transforming food systems in Ireland
In detail How Ireland can lead the way in food systems innovation

Decarbonising agriculture and food production is one of the biggest challenges of this decade. How can Ireland transform its food systems to accelerate the change needed?

How Ireland can lead the way in food systems innovation
Interview In Ireland, farmers are at the heart of the agri-food transition

Learn more about the unique challenges of Irish farmers in this interview with our programme partners from the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine,Hayden Lalor (Assistant Agricultural Inspector, Climate Division) and Patrick Barrett (Agricultural Inspector, Research Division).

In Ireland, farmers are at the heart of the agri-food transition
PODCAST Climate Change with Scott Amyx: Interview with Andy Kerr, Chief Strategy Officer at EIT Climate-KIC

Innovation VC expert Scott Amyx interviews CSO Andy Kerr on EIT Climate-KIC's place-based innovation model and how it is implementing it in Ireland.

Climate Change with Scott Amyx: Interview with Andy Kerr, Chief Strategy Officer at EIT Climate-KIC
Get in touch Contact our team for more information on the Ireland Deep Demonstration

•  Saskia Visser, Project Coordinator
•  Stewart Gee, Designer and Producer
•  Denyse Julien, Senior Programme Manager

Partner

Consultative Group Members
Aldi Ireland
  
Bank of Ireland
  
BioAtlantis
  
Bord Bia
  
Coillte
  
Dawn Meats
  
Dept. of Agriculture, Food & Marine
  
Dept. of Enterprise, Trade & Employment
  
Dept. of the Environment, Climate & Communications
  
Dept. of Taoiseach
  
Dept. of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science
  
Enterprise Ireland
  
Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland
  
EY
  
IBEC
  
Ireland Strategic Investment Fund
  
Irish Farmers' Association
  
Irish Grain Growers
  
National Economic and Social Council
  
Ornua
  
Science Foundation Ireland
  
Teagasc
  
University College Cork
  
University College Dublin