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€2m Strategic Partnership for Climate Action and the Agri-Food Sector

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, and Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon, with responsibility for Research and Development, have announced a new €2 million International Strategic Partnership to support national climate action in agriculture.

Funded by the EU’s European Institute of Technology (EIT) and the European Commission, EIT Climate KIC is Europe’s leading innovation community working to support the delivery of a climate resilient economy and society. EIT Climate KIC will partner with public and private stakeholders in the Irish agri-food sector, led by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, to combine their international expertise on climate innovation with local knowledge and organisation to support the agri-food sector in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

In making the announcement, Minister McConalogue stated, “the new Climate Action Plan and the Food Vision 2030 Strategy have set a challenging agenda for the agri-food sector. Reducing emissions by 22-30% by 2030 and achieving climate neutrality by 2050 will require new and innovative approaches by everyone in the industry. I believe that this partnership with EIT Climate KIC has the potential to bring new, innovative thinking across the sector, whilst supporting our ambitions and setting the sector on an accelerated pathway of climate action.”

Minister Heydon added, “the specific commitment of over €1.6 million in research investment towards this strategic partnership with EIT Climate-KIC highlights my department’s commitment to co-funding innovative solutions to support climate action in the agri-food sector and society. I particularly welcome the ambition of the partnership to build a portfolio of actions, including trialling new practices and technologies, developing, and incentivising new business models, and improving citizen engagement.”

The Ministers highlighted that the Strategic Partnership would see EIT Climate-KIC apply their ‘Deep Demonstration’ model of innovation to the entire agri-food and biobased value chain, from soil to farm to fork. This will involve working with stakeholders from public, private, non-governmental and Higher Education sectors to develop a range of strategic and coordinated solutions on climate action that will be tested and demonstrated. The partnership will initially map the Irish agri-food system to understand and position the existing public and private sector partners and their initiatives. Further steps will then create a framework to connect and integrate existing initiatives and actors, and to identify and introduce new innovation actions across business, the public sector, and communities. A key step will see the partnership identify opportunities to raise and deploy grant funding and private investment capital to support the innovation actions.

The Ministers emphasised that collaboration between various public and private organisations and institutions is essential to the success of the partnership, with Minister McConalogue adding, “the solutions developed and tested will assist our farmers, rural communities and the wider agri-food and biobased sector to build resilient approaches and solutions to the challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability. I believe partnerships such as this will bring new thinking and novel approaches and I look forward to seeing these outcomes over the coming two years.”

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