Submission to Public Consultation on Development of Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas

This submission was made by Feasta on March 6 to the Irish Department of Agriculture regarding “Sustainable Food Production and Processing” and “Food for Health”. It describes 10 high level goals that we believe can and should be progressed. It goes on to outline the proposed research that would further these goals, and to explain what the expected results would be and how they could be measured.

The 10 high level goals are as follows:

– Reduction of the climate impact of food production and consumption systems
– Improvement of public health through alterations in diet
– Adaptation of food production and consumption to climate change
– Understanding of the extent of the potential contribution of biochar and associated technologies to reducing net greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution and other environmental impacts of food production, including consideration of all environmental social and economic aspects
– Increased recovery of energy and nutrients from the waste products of agriculture, food production and consumption
– Understanding the extent of the potential contribution of soil mineral balancing to improving quality, health and yield from different Irish agricultural soil types.
– Better understanding of existing and potential agro-ecological and permacultural food production systems in Ireland
– Incorporation of agro-ecological and permaculture principles into food production and consumption systems
– Protection and restoration of peatlands while making economic use of peatland products
– Effective integration of sustainable development into research prioritisation.

We appreciate that the last theme described above is significantly wider than the specific consultation. On reviewing the documentation from the entire research prioritisation process, the lack of attention to the ecological crisis was a real surprise.

The scientific community is very clear on the enormity of the challenge we face. We expected this knowledge to be reflected in the research prioritisation process.

We don’t understand why these fundamental challenges are either being ignored or treated as niche market opportunities; clearly the research prioritisation process is not working properly and it is essential to understand why and to take appropriate steps to address this problem.

Read the entire submission (pdf document)

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