Efforts aimed at reaching an agreement on carbon emission reductions in the agriculture sector have been described this evening as tense.

The Government is seeking to have a plan in place by Wednesday when the Cabinet next meets.

However, some of those involved in the discussions across Government said the chances of reaching agreement by the middle of next week are now only '50/50'.

This evening, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue told the MacGill Summer School that the next 30 years will be the most crucial in terms of food production and agriculture.

"The policy directions needed domestically and internationally to address climate change coupled with a growing population will mean that we must have a source of safe, sustainable and nutritious food," he said.

These policy decision are being made against the backdrop of an incredibly tense geopolitical situation, the minister added.

"Ireland and Irish farm families are best placed to produce food for a growing population domestically and internationally, despite our physically small size, our farmers, food producers and processors, we are giants in the production and export of high-quality, safe and sustainable food," he said.