Food Harvest 2020 will not contribute to increasing food security

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An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland – has welcomed the recent publication of a report by the outgoing United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter. However, the findings of the report raise fresh concerns about export oriented agricultural policies, such as the industry-led and Irish government-supported Food Harvest 2020 programme (FH2020).

Of key relevance to Ireland is the UN report’s recommendation that,

“wealthy countries must move away from export-driven agricultural policies and leave space instead for small-scale farmers in developing countries to supply local markets”.

FH2020’s crude export-oriented target of achieving a 50% increase in the volume of Irish dairy production is totally inconsistent with this recommendation.

The UN report continues that, “every study recognizes that solving environmental problems caused by livestock will require reducing the demand for animal products”.

So, although Ireland can produce dairy relatively efficiently, the expansion of intensive dairy production will not address food security or environmental concerns.

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