A new national Bioeconomy Action Plan has been published today (Thursday, October 18) to support making Ireland “climate neutral” by 2050 and to highlight new opportunities for agriculture, horticulture and forestry.
The plan, officially unveiled by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue and the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, also sets out how the bioeconomy can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the agricultural sector. food system.
According to Minister McConalogue the bioeconomy could replace “fossil-based resources with biological ones, from biofertilizers and biopesticides to new food sources, bio-plastics and textiles and bio waste management”.
“For the agriculture, food, forest and marine sector, the bioeconomy offers a vast range of new opportunities, new business models, new value chains, and is a key element in the diversification of the sector,” he added.
He said that Food Vision 2023 had also “committed” to putting the agri-food sector firmly in the circular regenerative bioeconomy.
“It highlighted that the livestock, arable, marine and horticulture systems in particular should examine the use and circularity of raw materials from each other’s supply chains and also waste flows from the food industry.
“It also sought to scale up circular and low carbon solutions based on principles of renewable energy, cascading and circular use of sustainable resources,” the minister added.
Minister McConalogue said some of the opportunities from the bioeconomy might include utilizing grass for producing new sources of protein and fiber, to converting timber into composite wood products, or seaweed as ingredients in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical sectors.
Bioeconomy Action Plan
The plan contains 33 actions across seven pillars:
- Governance and awareness;
- Research, development, and innovation;
- Nature, climate, energy, and the circular economy;
- Agriculture, food, forestry and the marine;
- Communities, regions and cities;
- Industry and enterprise;
- Knowledge and skills.
Both Minister McConalogue and Minister Ryan said the new action plan will have a strong focus on “bringing sustainable scientific practices, technologies, and biobased innovation into use on farms”.
According to Minister McConalogue the publication of the new action plan also coincides with the recent adoption by European agriculture ministers of a set of Council Conclusions on the bioeconomy.
“I was pleased to support these as they highlight the key role that the bioeconomy can play in achieving environmental and climate goals, while also improving competitiveness, helping us transition away from fossil-fuel dependency, and strengthening food security in the wake of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” he added.