The aim of the Teagasc Rural Economy and Development Programme is to help decision making by stakeholders of Teagasc through research and knowledge transfer activities.

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  • Sustainable and healthy food consumption in Europe: an analysis of consumer purchase patterns, motivations and barriers towards foods from SFSCs

    Hyland, John; Henchion, Maeve; Olomo, Oluwayemisi; Attard, Jennifer; Gaffey, James (Emerald, 2023)
    The aim of this paper is to better understand European consumers’ behaviour in relation to Short Food Supply Chains (SFSCs), so as to provide insights to support their development as part of a sustainable food system.. Specifically, it aims to analyse consumer purchase patterns, motivations and perceived barriers, and to identify patterns of behaviour amongst different consumer groups. An online consumer survey was conducted in 12 European countries (n=2,419). Quantitative data analysis, including Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis, was undertaken using SPSS. Four consumer clusters are named according to their behavioural stage in terms of SFSC engagement; Unaware Unengaged, Aware Unengaged, Motivationally Engaged, and Executively Engaged. Unaware Unengaged and Aware Unengaged are in the non-engagement phase of behaviour. Motivationally Engaged are motivationally activated to engage in the behaviour but fail to do so consistently. Executively Engaged is the fully engaged cluster, being motivated to act and purchasing local food on a frequent basis. The results show an interesting interplay between motivations and barriers, i.e. higher scores for motivations and lower scores for barriers do not necessarily translate into higher purchase frequency. The research gleans insights into the contextual factors that may inhibit SFSC purchases in different consumer segments. It offers practical implications for policymakers and others seeking to develop SFSCs as part of a sustainable food system.
  • Analysis of the effect of alternative agri-environmental policy instruments on production performance and nitrogen surplus of representative dairy farms

    Adenuga, Adewale Henry; Davis, John; Hutchinson, George; Patton, Myles; Donnellan, Trevor; Teagasc Walsh fellowship (Elsevier, 2020-09-30)
    Nitrogen (N) surplus is an important environmental problem on the island of Ireland (Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), and the dairy sector has been identified as contributing more to this problem compared to other agricultural sectors. As a result, there has been increased demand for efficient policy measures to improve the economic and environmental performance of dairy farms in the region. In this study, we employed the positive mathematical programming (PMP) optimization modelling framework to simulate the economic and environmental impact of two alternative agri-environmental policy instruments on different dairy farm types. Specifically, the study considers the effects of an N surplus tax and an agri-environmental nutrient application standard on the production performance and N surplus of representative dairy farms using scenario analyses. The results of the analyses showed that the effects of the agri-environmental policy instruments vary across the two countries and clusters of dairy farms, resulting in clear differential effects on farm structure and N surpluses. The study concluded that in situations where the nutrient surplus is already high, as with the large farms clusters in this study, the use of manure application standards will be more effective in limiting nutrient surplus to soils compared to the use of nutrient surplus tax.
  • A Microsimulation Model for the Land Rental Market in Irish Farming

    Loughrey, Jason; Hennessy, Thia; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (International Microsimulation Association, 2022-08-31)
    In this paper, we utilize Teagasc National Farm survey data to analyse the agricultural land rental market in Ireland with a newly developed agent-based microsimulation (ABM) model and a classical walrasian equilibrium model of the land rental market. We conclude that the microsimulation model has a number of strengths in addressing the interactions between landowners and tenants and dealing with the impact of economic changes on the farm size concentration. The equilibrium model retains some value in dealing with the question of price determination and in illustrating the potential surpluses to be gained from a more active land rental market. The paper contains a comparison of simulation results from the ABM model with recent farm-level data and Census of Agriculture data. These comparisons indicate the relevance of some findings from the simulation model including the rise in average dairy farm size and the decline in area allocated to non-dairy cattle farming. However, the sheep farming system appears to have defied the predictions from the simulation model and this may be attributed to the recent improvement in economic performance for this sector. The ABM model can be further refined to account for decisions in relation to the choice of farming system, the question of retirement and farm exit.
  • Upland vegetation mapping using Random Forests with optical and radar satellite data

    Barrett, Brian; Raab, Christoph; Cawkwell, Fiona; Green, Stuart; Environmental Protection Agency (Wiley, 2016-11-28)
    Uplands represent unique landscapes that provide a range of vital benefits to society, but are under increasing pressure from the management needs of a diverse number of stakeholders (e.g. farmers, conservationists, foresters, government agencies and recreational users). Mapping the spatial distribution of upland vegetation could benefit management and conservation programmes and allow for the impacts of environmental change (natural and anthropogenic) in these areas to be reliably estimated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of medium spatial resolution optical and radar satellite data, together with ancillary soil and topographic data, for identifying and mapping upland vegetation using the Random Forests (RF) algorithm. Intensive field survey data collected at three study sites in Ireland as part of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) funded survey of upland habitats was used in the calibration and validation of different RF models. Eight different datasets were analysed for each site to compare the change in classification accuracy depending on the input variables. The overall accuracy values varied from 59.8% to 94.3% across the three study locations and the inclusion of ancillary datasets containing information on the soil and elevation further improved the classification accuracies (between 5 and 27%, depending on the input classification dataset). The classification results were consistent across the three different study areas, confirming the applicability of the approach under different environmental contexts.
  • Teagasc National Farm Survey 2016 Results

    Dillon, Emma; Moran, Brian; Donnellan, Trevor (Teagasc, 2017)
  • Teagasc note on carbon budgets

    Hanrahan, Kevin; Donnellan, Trevor; Lanigan, Gary J. (Teagasc, 2021-09-29)
    In this note we set out our assessment of Irish agriculture sector emissions of GHG with and without measures (technical abatement measures in agriculture and agricultural land use measures) over the period to 2030 and compare these with 5 different possible agriculture sector carbon budgets outcomes.
  • Policy Incentives and the Organic Value Chain in Ireland

    O'Donoghue, Cathal; Clavin, Dan; Ryan, Mary; Heery, Declan; Leavey, Elaine (CentMA, 2018)
    Administrative datasets are utilised to study farms that have converted to organic beef production in Ireland, to draw lessons for future CAP scheme design. The analysis confirms anecdotal evidence in relation to a leakage of animals from the organic to the non-organic (conventional) beef sector. As a result of this differential response across the value chain, there is sub-optimal production of organic meat relative to the investment in incentives for conversion from non-organic to organic production. This may result in risks to the long term viability of the incentive scheme and more widely, for supports for organic farming.
  • Introduction: Continuity, Change and the Family Farm

    Meredith, David (Geographical Society of Ireland, 2017-11-02)
    The research presented in this special edition highlights the adaptive capacity of the social system that is the family farm.
  • The potential impact of differential taxation and social protection measures on farm afforestation decisions

    Ryan, Mary; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Kinsella, Anne (The society of Irish foresters, 2017-12-20)
    The question of what motivates decisions to change land use or farm management practices has recently received much attention in the context of designing policies to incentivise change. This paper critically analyses aspects of the prevailing incentive policies for farm afforestation, with a view to identifying how different components of income influence the uptake of afforestation. Previous analyses have focused on the role of market income and subsidies in farm income. This paper additionally examines the impact of fiscal instruments on disposable income. The analysis finds that from a household welfare perspective, the inclusion of benefits and taxation in calculating relative life-cycle incomes from forestry and agriculture, provides additional information relevant to the farm afforestation decision. From the policy makers perspective, this analysis illustrates the re-distributive nature of the Irish tax/benefits system as benefits can be very significant at the bottom of the income distribution whereas taxation narrows the gap at the top of the distribution. The analysis shows that even if the level of disposable income is higher for agriculture on more intensive farms, the use of a disposable income measure in analysing the returns from farm afforestation, provides valuable insights in relation to how financial policy levers impact on different farm systems with different levels of farming intensity At the lower end of the distribution, the analysis shows that low-income farms could acually be worse-off as a result of planting. Further research is required to estimate “cut” points at which changes in taxation or benefit thresholds and increased level of uptake of benefits, could bring about a gain from the inclusion of forestry in overall farm income.
  • A model framework to investigate the role of anomalous land surface processes in the amplification of summer drought across Ireland during 2018

    Ishola, Kazeem A.; Mills, Gerald; Fealy, Reamonn M.; Fealy, Rowan; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 2016076 (Wiley, 2022-07-15)
    Due to its latitude and ample year-round rainfall, Ireland is typically an energy-limited regime in the context of soil moisture availability and evapotranspiration. However, during the summer of 2018, regions within the country displayed significant soil moisture deficits, associated with anomalous atmospheric forcing conditions, with consequent impacts on the surface energy balance. Here, we explore the utility of a physically based land surface scheme coupled with observational, global gridded reanalysis and satellite-derived data products to analyse the spatial and temporal evolution of the 2018 summer drought event in Ireland over grassland, which represents the dominant agricultural land-cover. While the surface–air energy exchanges were initially dominated by atmospheric anomalies, soil moisture constraints became increasingly important in regulating these exchanges, as the accumulated rainfall deficit increased throughout the summer months. This was particularly evident over the freer draining soils in the east and southeast of the country. From late June 2018, we identify a strong linear coupling between soil moisture and both evapotranspiration and vegetation response, suggesting a shift from an energy-limited evapotranspiration regime into a dry or soil water-limited regime. Applying segmented regression models, the study quantifies a critical soil moisture threshold as a key determinant of the transition from wet to dry evaporative regimes. These findings are important to understand the soil moisture context under which land–atmosphere couplings are strongest in water-limited regimes across the country and should help improve the treatment of soil parameters in weather prediction models, required for subseasonal and seasonal forecasts, consequently enhancing early warning systems of summer climate extremes in the future.
  • Assessing stone walls habitat quality – Which factors affect bryophytes and macrolichens on farmland stone walls in Ireland?

    Ruas, Sara; Rotchés-Ribalta, Roser; Ó hUallacháin, Daire; Volpato, Alessio; Gormally, Michael; White, Blanaid; Moran, James; Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF15_S_619 (Elsevier, 2022-06)
    Stone walls are ubiquitous field boundaries used to restrict livestock movement or to separate property. Bryophytes and lichens are often the dominant vegetation in dry stone walls and are strongly affected by local microhabitat characteristics. Bryophytes and lichens related metrics can be used to define habitat quality of stone walls. The current study assessed how richness and cover of bryophytes and macrolichens in dry stone walls related to each other and how different environmental variables and farm management descriptors determined richness and cover of both groups in dry stone walls. Bryophytes and macrolichens were sampled in stone walls on sixteen farms across a management intensity gradient in Ireland. Bryophyte cover correlated positively and significantly with bryophyte richness and macrolichen cover and richness, and can thus be used to assess stone walls quality. Farm management intensity emerged as the variable most strongly related with species richness of bryophytes and cover of both groups. Altitude also emerged as a strong predictor of both groups’ richness and cover. This study provides a novel perspective on stone wall habitat quality and results indicate that by promoting extensive farming it is possible to increase stone walls quality.
  • More than two decades of Agri-Environment schemes: Has the profile of participating farms changed?

    Cullen, Paula; Hynes, Stephen; Ryan, Mary; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship (Elsevier, 2021-08-15)
    The agri-food sector is under increased pressure from consumers to improve on the sustainability of production processes. Policies that incentivise farmers to improve environmental performance, such as agri-environment schemes (AES), are increasingly important. Understanding the choice to participate in these programmes aids policymakers in designing schemes that meet participation and environmental goals. While a number of studies have investigated the decision using cross-sectional data on one or multiple locations, very few have used longitudinal data to investigate the impact of institutional changes over time. Using Ireland as a case study, this paper uses a nationally representative panel of data spanning 23 years to model the impact of scheme and policy changes on the type of farms participating in AES. This paper argues that environmental issues surrounding intensive farms (such as the loss of nutrients and sediment to water and greenhouse gas emissions) are not being optimally addressed in scheme design and further development of such programmes is needed to reduce negative environmental impacts.
  • Exploring the relationship between mastitis risk perceptions and farmers’ readiness to engage in milk recording

    Regan, Áine; Clifford, Seán; Burrell, Alison M.G.; Balaine, Lorraine; Dillon, Emma; Animal Health Ireland (Elsevier, 2021-08-31)
    The need to move towards Selective Dry Cow Therapy (SDCT) has become increasingly pertinent as a means to reduce the use of antibiotics in the dairy sector. With the EU 2022 ban on prophylactic antibiotics at drying off, practices on some farms will need to drastically change. In Ireland, one particular challenge to the sector-wide transition to SDCT is the lack of widespread uptake of milk recording across dairy farms, a decision support tool which can support mastitis control and help identify cows to select for SDCT. The current study examined readiness to engage in milk recording amongst Irish dairy farmers, and specifically investigated the role of mastitis risk perceptions in shaping farmers’ readiness. The study explores the multifaceted nature of risk perception as a construct shaping farmers’ attitudes. An online survey was carried out with 197 Irish dairy farmers exploring their attitudes towards mastitis and milk recording. A cluster analysis classified farmers according to their mastitis risk perceptions, with 3 segments identified with differing risk perception profiles. Elevated mastitis risk perceptions were linked to an increased readiness to milk record. However, this relationship was not universal across all farmers. One segment of farmers in the current study maintain low mastitis risk perceptions and remain unmotivated to engage in milk recording. The study concludes that targeted risk communication strategies related to mastitis and milk recording are needed to encourage the move towards SDCT and reduced AMR. Results suggest that the types of risk communication strategies – message framing and two-way risk communication – should reflect farmers’ types of mastitis risk perceptions to have the most effective impact on milk recording uptake.
  • Brainy, Crazy, Supernatural, Clumsy and Normal: Five profiles of children's stereotypical and non-stereotypical perceptions of scientists in the Draw-A-Scientist-Test

    Brumovska, Tereza J.; Carroll, Sarah; Javornicky, Martin; Grenon, Muriel; Science Foundation Ireland; 18DP5772 (Elsevier, 2022-12-31)
    Children's perceptions of scientists have traditionally been explored using the Draw-a-Scientist Test (DAST). However, the DAST method, whereby researchers analyse large numbers of children's drawings according to a checklist, is often criticised for not taking children's voices into account. In this study, to explore children's perceptions of scientists, children in four primary schools (N = 105) were asked to 'Draw a Scientist', then describe their drawings in an open-ended qualitative questionnaire. A subsample of 30 participants also participated in semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis that was conducted on the collected data derived five different profiles of scientists described by children: 1) Brainy Scientist, 2) Crazy Scientist, 3) Supernatural Scientist, 4) Clumsy Scientist, and 5) Normal Scientist. These distinct profiles shift from the typical ‘stereotypical’ versus ‘non-stereotypical stance’ often presented, describing novel nuances within stereotypical profiles. This work highlights the importance of employing qualitative participatory research methods and incorporating children's voices. The article concludes with suggestions for several directions for future research.
  • The spatial impact of rural economic change on river water quality

    O'Donoghue, Cathal; Buckley, Cathal; Chyzheuskaya, Aksana; Green, Stuart; Howley, Peter; Hynes, Stephen; Upton, Vincent; Ryan, Mary (Elsevier, 2021-04-30)
    This paper, using Ireland as a case study, examines the relationship between rural economic activities and river water quality. The stipulation from the EU water framework directive (WFD) that all surface waters in the EU must be of ‘good ecological status’ necessitates a quantitative understanding of the major determinants of water quality. Within this context, this paper combines a number of spatial datasets relating to agricultural, land use, residential and industrial activities, to examine the major economic influences on the ecological quality of water resources. It is hoped that providing a comprehensive understanding of the effect of a variety of economic activities that influence the ecological quality of water will be an important tool in the management of risk and will allow for more appropriate land use planning aimed at restoring and maintaining water quality as required by the WFD. Results indicate that the level of forestry, industrial activity, the intensity and type of agricultural activity and the type of wastewater treatment in an area are all critical factors affecting the quality of water resources. The model finds that relationship between agriculture and water quality improved over time during a period where there was substantial legislative measures and financial support to facilitate improved water quality.
  • A discrete choice experiment exploring farmer preferences for insurance against extreme weather events

    Doherty, Edel; Mellett, Sinead; Norton, Daniel; McDermott, Thomas K.J.; O'Hora, Denis; Ryan, Mary; European Regional Development Fund; EAPA – 272/2016 (Elsevier, 2021-07-15)
    Agriculture represents one of the most vulnerable sectors to extreme weather events that are projected to increase with climate change. Insurance has been advocated as a more efficient means to ensure financial security to farmers, than post-disaster aid for damages. A potential drawback of insurance however, is that unless carefully designed it could dis-incentivise farmers to engage in wider farm adaptation measures or lead to more risk-taking behaviour. This paper analyses the attractiveness of publicly-backed climate risk insurance offerings to farmers and explores their preferences for elements of insurance schemes that do not negatively affect incentives for wider farm adaptation. Specifically, a discrete choice experiment is used to reveal Irish farmers’ preferences for multi-annual insurance contracts and weather-indexed versus traditional indemnity insurance and cost. Results indicate that a majority of farmers are willing to buy publicly-backed insurance for protection from extreme weather events. Younger farmers, farmers who currently have farm insurance, farmers from certain geographical locations and farmers who have been previously affected by extreme weather events are more likely to buy insurance. With respect to the design of insurance schemes, farmers prefer multi-annual coverage versus annual renewal. They also prefer indexed-insurance and have a strong preference for cheaper coverage. Despite the important role that insurance could play in protecting farms financially from damage caused by extreme weather events, few studies have examined preference for weather-indexed insurance within a European context. New evidence on farmer preferences and intended behaviours is therefore critical to inform policy in this area.
  • Microbial composition and omasal flows of bacterial, protozoal, and nonmicrobial amino acids in lactating dairy cows fed fresh perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) not supplemented or supplemented with rolled barley

    Dineen, M.; McCarthy, B.; Dillon, p.; Matthews, C.; Ross, D.; Van Amburgh, M.E.; Dairy Research Ireland Dairy Levy Trust (Elsevier, 2021-04)
    The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of rolled barley supplementation on microbial composition and omasal flows of bacterial, protozoal, and nonmicrobial AA in cows fed fresh perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.; PRG). Ten ruminally cannulated multiparous Holstein cows averaging (mean ± standard deviation) 49 ± 23 d in milk and 513 ± 36 kg of body weight were assigned to 1 of 2 treatments in a switchback design. The treatment diets were PRG only or PRG plus 3.5 kg of dry matter rolled barley (G+RB). The study consisted of three 29-d periods where each period consisted of 21 d of diet adaptation and 8 d of data and sample collection. A double-marker system was used to quantify nutrient flow entering the omasal canal along with 15N-ammonium sulfate to label and measure the microbial and nonmicrobial omasal flow of AA. Overall, rolled barley supplementation had no effect on the AA composition of the omasal liquid-associated and particle-associated bacteria. Rolled barley supplementation affected the AA concentrations of omasal protozoa; however, the differences were nutritionally minor. Particle-associated bacteria AA flow was increased for all AA, except for Trp and Pro, in cows fed the G+RB diet. Rolled barley supplementation had no effect on protozoal AA flow. On average, protozoa accounted for 23% of the microbial essential AA flow, which ranged from 17 to 28% for Trp and Lys, respectively. The flow of all AA in omasal true digesta increased in cows fed the G+RB diet compared with the PRG-only diet, resulting in a 228 g/d increase in total AA flow in cows fed the G+RB diet. This increase in total AA flow in cows fed the G+RB diet was due to an increase in microbial AA flow. Rolled barley supplementation had no effect on nonmicrobial AA flow. The nonmicrobial AA flow modestly contributed to total AA flow, accounting for 15.6% on average. These results indicated that extensive ruminal degradation of PRG AA occurred (83.5%), and we demonstrated that cows consuming PRG-based diets exhibit a large dependence on microbial AA to support metabolizable AA supply. Rolled barley supplementation can increase the omasal flow of microbial AA in cows consuming PRG-based diets. However, further research is required to elucidate if this increased AA supply can support higher milk yield under such dietary conditions.
  • Food neophobia and its relationship with dietary variety and quality in Irish adults: Findings from a national cross-sectional study

    Hazley, Daniel; McCarthy, Sinead N.; Stack, Mairead; Walton, Janette; McNulty, Breige A.; Flynn, Albert; Kearney, John M.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Elsevier, 2022-02-01)
    Food neophobia is characterised by a reluctance to eat novel or unfamiliar foods and has been linked to reduced dietary variety and quality. However, this link has been primarily studied in children. Therefore, we aimed to explore the relationship between food neophobia and dietary variety and quality in adults using a sub-sample of the National Adults Nutrition Survey collected between 2008 and 2010 (n = 1088). Food and nutrient intakes were assessed using a 4-day semi-weighed food diary. Food neophobia was measured using the Food Neophobia Scale (FNS). Dietary variety was assessed in three ways; Total Dietary Variety (TDV), Food-Group Variety (FGV) and Fruit and Vegetable Variety (FVV). Diet quality was assessed using the Mean Adequacy Ratio (MAR) and Nutrient-Rich Food Index (NRF9.3). A multivariate general linear model was used to assess the linear relationships between FNS score and all dietary measures, controlling for age, sex, education level, social class, location and BMI. Food neophobia was found to be inversely associated with TDV, FGV and FVV. In addition, food neophobia was negatively associated with vitamin C, magnesium and fruit and vegetable intakes and positively associated with percentage energy from free sugars. However, food neophobia was not significantly associated with all other nutrients, MAR and NRF9.3. While these results suggest food neophobia may not be a particularly important risk factor for poor nutrient status, adherence to certain dietary recommendations remains low within the Irish population and food neophobia may further inhibit the adaption of healthy and sustainable diets. Future research should seek to understand the implications of food neophobia on dietary behaviour change.
  • Engaging with selective dry cow therapy: understanding the barriers and facilitators perceived by Irish farmers

    Huey, Sarah; Kavanagh, Michaela; Regan, Aine; Dean, Moira; McKernan, Clare; McCoy, Finola; Ryan, Eoin G.; Caballero-Villalobos, Javier; McAloon, Catherine I; Animal Health Ireland (Springer Nature, 2021-10-23)
    Background: Selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) is widely promoted in dairy farming as a method to reduce anti‑ microbial usage. New legislation introduced by the European Union will restrict and regulate the prophylactic and metaphylactic use of antibiotics from January 2022. Blanket dry cow therapy continues to be a practice engaged in by many farmers in Ireland and for many of these farmers, moving towards SDCT would require a signifcant infrastruc‑ tural, behavioural and/or cultural change on their farm. Existing research has reported the important need to under‑ stand farmers’ motivations to initiate any substantial behaviour change. However, it is currently unknown what farm‑ ers know, think and believe about SDCT in Ireland. The aim of this study was to use qualitative methods to explore what barriers and facilitators farmers perceived to exist with SDCT and explore if they had chosen to implement SDCT after voluntarily participating in a funded dry cow consult with a trained veterinarian, with the objective of maximis‑ ing the dry period udder health performance and moving safely to SDCT. Results: In this study, 19 farmers were contacted, and telephone interviews were conducted regarding farmers’ beliefs about the consequences of SDCT. Audio recordings were professionally transcribed verbatim and analysed qualitatively using an inductive thematic analysis. The analysis identifed 6 barriers and 6 facilitators to implement‑ ing SDCT. A signifcant fear of increasing mastitis incidence was evident that caused reluctance towards SDCT and reliance on antibiotics. Mixed perceptions on SDCT, infrastructure limitations, a perceived lack of preventive advice as well as peer infuence were presented as barriers to SDCT. Farmers can build confdence when a graded approach to SDCT is implemented, which could help overcome the fear of SDCT and reliance on antibiotics. Regulatory pressure, high standards of farm hygiene and use of targeted veterinary consults were found to facilitate SDCT. Education was suggested to motivate farmers in the future uptake of SDCT. Despite cited negative infuences, peer infuence can be utilised to encourage the farming community. Conclusions: This study prioritises areas to facilitate the major behaviour change required as a dairy industry in order to move from blanket dry cow therapy to SDCT. Keywords: Selective dry cow therapy, Farmer, Psychology, Behaviour change, CellCheck
  • Policy Coherence and the Transition to a Bioeconomy: The Case of Ireland

    Kelleher, Luke; Henchion, Maeve; O’Neill, Eoin; Science Foundation Ireland (SFI); European Regional Development Fund; 16/RC/3889 (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2019-12-17)
    Advancing a bioeconomy requires that policymakers understand how the design and coherence of public policy can contribute, or create barriers, to its development. Ireland’s first National Policy Statement on the Bioeconomy (February 2018) recognized the significance of policy coherence as a critical factor in a successful transition to a bioeconomy. Qualitative document analysis was employed to assess the level of coherence across a range of relevant policy documents. As is the case with most other countries the key sub-sectors related to the bioeconomy in Ireland have independent policy documents for their own developmental process, with obvious potential for conflict. The results of the analysis indicated inconsistency across sectors, highlighting the requirement to update certain strategy documents in order to raise the level of cross-sectoral coherence. This process is essential in both avoiding a ‘silo’ mentality and enabling the concept of the bioeconomy and its associated objectives to become mainstreamed. The methodology employed in this research is easily transferable and should prove useful for other countries in transition to a bioeconomy to assess the strengths and weaknesses of relevant documents and identify where change is required.

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