Ireland had a general election on the 8th February 2020 to elect a new Government. This process was interrupted due to the onset of the COVID 19 virus. A provisional program for Government was produced and this was put to three respective parties for approval from their members. This government has now been formed and power is shared between three parties Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party. The program for Government is now agreed. The Green Party is an all island party and presents potential for cross border cooperation on agroforestry projects.
There was a general consensus that change was required in a number of areas and agriculture was identified as one of these.
Agroforestry is first mentioned under Mission: A green new deal where climate change and biodiversity are two critical areas that need attention and agroforestry is recognised, amongst others, as an innovative way of tackling these issues. It is mentioned again as one of the strategies
"Developing a new strategy to expand afforestation, particularly Close to Nature Forestry and agro-forestry."
It is next mentioned under Mission: Balanced regional Development. Here forestry and trees are recognised as having significant potential in contributing positively to the rural economy and the environment. The forestry sector currently employs over 12,000 people. Some changes and improvements are outlined including agroforestry where it states:-
"Provide increased support for the development of agroforestry/silvopasture on Irish farmlands."
This is very significant and is the culmination of nearly 10 years of lobbying and promotion. These are exciting times in Ireland for agroforestry and all the help we have received over the years from EURAF is greatly appreciated.