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Ministers McConalogue and Ryan publish first national Bioeconomy Action Plan

Ministers McConalogue and Ryan publish first national Bioeconomy Action Plan

Publication of the Plan, to coincide with Bioeconomy Ireland Week 2023, signals intent to accelerate sustainable bioeconomy development to support climate action

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D. and Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan T.D. today announced the publication of Ireland’s first National Bioeconomy Action Plan for the period 2023-2025.

The National Bioeconomy Action Plan 2023-2025 will have a strong focus on bringing sustainable scientific practices, technologies, and biobased innovation into use on farms and by biobased industries in Ireland. The plan contains 33 actions across seven pillars:

1. Governance and Awareness

2. Research, Development, and Innovation

3. Nature, Climate, Energy, and the Circular Economy

4. Agriculture, Food, Forestry, and the Marine

5. Communities, Regions and Cities

6. Industry and Enterprise

7. Knowledge and Skills

Announcing the publication, Minister McConalogue said

“I am delighted to announce the publication of the first National Bioeconomy Action Plan which will support our farmers, foresters, fishers and agri-food companies to embed themselves in the circular regenerative bioeconomy. The bioeconomy offers a vast range of new opportunities, new business models, new value chains, and is a key element in the diversification of the sector in line with the ambitions set out in Food Vision 2030. From utilising grass for producing new sources of protein and fibre, to converting timber into composite wood products, or seaweed as ingredients in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical sectors, the possibilities are endless. I have every confidence that this national action plan will help realise these opportunities and I urge all stakeholders to mobilise behind its implementation.”

For his part, Minister Ryan said

“Through the sustainable use of our natural resources, bioeconomy activities across all sectors of our economy can really help us to deliver on our climate ambition and will have a key role in achieving a climate neutral society. It gives us the framework for new research and evidence, new modelling, new production methods, providing opportunities for new sustainable and diverse income streams for farmers, for foresters, fishers, and rural communities particularly."

Commenting on the launch of the plan, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for research and innovation, Martin Heydon T.D. said “Based on the research funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine over recent years, there is a clear opportunity to enhance the agri-food sector’s contribution to climate action through the development of high value bioeconomy opportunities. This new Action Plan will continue to support investment in bioeconomy research, demonstration and knowledge exchange to build on the progress achieved to date.

The publication of the Action Plan, which can be accessed here comes during Bioeconomy Ireland Week 2023 which sees a series of events held each October to highlight and raise awareness of Ireland’s bioeconomy in action.


Notes for Editors:

What is the bioeconomy?

• Put simply, the bioeconomy is the production, utilisation, and regeneration of biobased materials to provide sustainable nature based and biobased solutions across all economic sectors.

• It is a new approach to utilising the products, services, primary resources and wastes and side-streams from such sectors such as agri-food and forestry more sustainably.

• It offers opportunities to reduce GHG emissions in the agri-food system by replacing non-renewable, non-sustainable and fossil-based resources and processes with biological ones, from bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides, to new food and feed sources, bio-based plastics and textiles, and biological waste management, to name just a few. It can also support enhanced resource and energy efficiency in the agri-food processing sectors aiding their decarbonisation.

Action Plan Content

• The Plan contains 33 high level actions across the 7 pillars. These are broken down into detailed steps for delivery and have an associated timeframe for implementation as well as the Government Departments, their agencies, and organisation(s) responsible.

• The Plan aims to further develop Ireland’s bioeconomy, in social, economic and policy terms, in the period 2023 to 2025, particularly increasing awareness and understanding of the bioeconomy more broadly.

• It will lead to enhanced policy coordination and investment and the greater integration of the bioeconomy within sectoral policies right across government.

• It will ensure support for the goal of moving biobased innovation and solutions from research to sustainable and circular industrial production with accelerated pace. It will support greater investment in demonstrating the bioeconomy, providing exemplars, and ensuring support for interactions and progress among multiple actors, including in local communities, businesses, primary producers, scientific communities, policymakers, social movements, and interest groups.

Current bioeconomy policy approach & the need for an Action Plan

• Ireland published a National Policy Statement on the Bioeconomy in 2018. This set out a vision, common principles, strategic objectives, and an implementation framework to develop the bioeconomy across relevant sectors. It established a Bioeconomy Implementation Group (BIG), co-chaired by the Departments of the Environment, Climate Change and Communications, and Agriculture, Food, and the Marine and brought together 11 government departments and 8 state agencies.

• While good progress has been made in developing our bioeconomy since the publication of the National Policy Statement, recent reports to government from the BIG and the Bioeconomy Stakeholder Forum pointed to a range of issues that should be addressed. They include the need for good governance approaches, including coordination and direction setting, a need to ensure the strategic development and mobilisation of the bioeconomy through sufficient investment in scaling up innovation and deployment infrastructure, and various other elements. In addition, the Climate Action Plan 2021 included an action to develop a new National Bioeconomy Action Plan 2023-2025 with the aim to accelerate bioeconomy development to support climate action. Bioeconomy Ireland Week 2023.

For more information on Bioeconomy Ireland Week, go to