Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy TD, has said that government needs to adopt an ambitious strategy to expand the use of Low-Emission Slurry Spreading (LESS) technology.
Teachta Carthy was speaking following an engagement with the Farm and Forestry Contractors of Ireland at the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, on Wednesday evening.
Many Farm Contractors are not entitled to grant aid assistance for LESS equipment despite the significant benefits that the technology can bring in terms of emissions and water quality.
Teachta Carthy said:
“LESS technology has the potential to play a critical role in reducing emissions in agriculture.
“Combined with reducing our reliance on chemical fertiliser, Teagasc have estimated that 90% adoption of LESS by 2027 could deliver up to 49% of emission reductions outlined in the Climate Action Plan.
“Bizarrely a key sector in Irish Agriculture, Farm Contractors who are responsible for up to 50% of slurry spreading, are precluded from receiving grant aid for this equipment through the TAMS scheme.
“Ironically, any move to make LESS technology compulsory would also make the technology ineligible for TAMS funding for farmers as well.
“The Oireachtas Agriculture Committee heard from one farm contractor, who despite also being a farmer, cannot qualify for any grant support for LESS equipment under TAMS, despite the substantial environmental benefits this would deliver across multiple farms.
“It is incomprehensible that government can provide grant aid towards the purchase of brand-new electric cars yet have no plans to provide assistance to accelerate a key measure that will play a pivotal role in reaching climate action targets, reducing emissions and improving water quality.
“It is imperative that all options to facilitate the speedy rollout of LESS technology are fully examined.
“This must include options to grant aid the purchase of LESS equipment by Farm Contractors and farmers both within and outside of the CAP strategic plan. If this measure cannot be achieved within TAMS then another route needs to be found.
“Low Emissions Slurry Spreading has been identified as a key element of the Climate Action Plan – its potential will only be reached if it is underpinned by a government strategy that supports those making the transition.”