New National Bioeconomy Action Plan to Support Ireland’s Climate Neutrality Goals
A new national Bioeconomy Action Plan has been unveiled today by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, and the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan. The plan aims to support Ireland’s goal of becoming “climate neutral” by 2050 and highlights new opportunities for the agriculture, horticulture, and forestry sectors.
The bioeconomy is seen as a key driver in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the agri-food system. Minister McConalogue stated that the bioeconomy has the potential to replace fossil-based resources with biological alternatives, such as biofertilisers, biopesticides, new food sources, bio-plastics, textiles, and bio waste management solutions. He emphasized that the bioeconomy offers a wide range of opportunities, new business models, and value chains, which are essential for the diversification of the sector.
The plan aligns with Food Vision 2023, which aims to position the agri-food sector firmly within the circular regenerative bioeconomy. It emphasizes the importance of examining the use and circularity of raw materials and waste flows within the livestock, arable, marine, and horticulture systems. Additionally, it seeks to scale up circular and low carbon solutions based on renewable energy and the circular use of sustainable resources.
The opportunities presented by the bioeconomy are vast. They range from utilizing grass for producing new sources of protein and fiber to converting timber into composite wood products. Seaweed can also be used as ingredients in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical sectors. These innovative applications have the potential to contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy.
The Bioeconomy Action Plan consists of 33 actions across seven pillars, including 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, and knowledge and skills. The plan aims to create a framework that supports the implementation of sustainable scientific practices, technologies, and biobased innovations on farms.
The publication of the new action plan coincides with the recent adoption of a set of Council Conclusions on the bioeconomy by European agriculture ministers. Minister McConalogue expressed his support for these conclusions, highlighting the key role that the bioeconomy can play in achieving environmental and climate goals. He also emphasized the importance of reducing fossil-fuel dependency and strengthening food security in the wake of geopolitical challenges.
The Bioeconomy Action Plan sets Ireland on a path towards a more sustainable and resilient future. By embracing the opportunities presented by the bioeconomy, Ireland can make significant progress towards its climate neutrality goals while fostering innovation, economic growth, and job creation in the agriculture, horticulture, and forestry sectors.