Tuesday, 15 October 2019
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
490. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of further targeted farm supports worth €40 million following the announcement in budget 2020 for each respective scheme that will be allocated this funding in 2020. [42186/19]
In Budget 2020, there was almost €85 million provided in targeted schemes to support sustainable beef farming. This includes almost €45 million for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), and a further €40 million for targeted supports. The mechanism for distribution of these funds will be announced following the appropriate stakeholder consultation.
491. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the individual allocation to each respective scheme under the €235 million announced for agri-environmental schemes in budget 2020. [42187/19]
492. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the individual allocation to each respective pilot scheme that will be operationalised in 2020 following the €3 million to fund additional pilot projects aimed specifically at climate measures in agriculture which was announced in budget 2020. [42188/19]
The All-of-Government Climate Action Plan to tackle climate breakdown sets targets and actions for each sector including the agriculture, forestry and land-use sector to support decarbonisation of our economy and society. The targets and actions for the agriculture sector are ambitious and challenging; it is not going to be easy; and early adoption and high levels of take-up of the series of measures as identified in the Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve are essential.
The Government’s policy position for the agriculture sector is an approach to carbon neutrality which does not compromise our capacity for sustainable food production but is also cognisant of the important economical contribution agriculture makes to our economy and to the economy of rural Ireland. Our three pillar approach to carbon neutrality is through:
1. Reducing agricultural emissions;
2. Increasing carbon sequestration; and
3. Displacing and substituting fossil fuel and energy intensive materials.
As recognition of the importance of acting quickly I have allocated an additional €3 million to fund additional pilot projects in 2020 aimed specifically at climate measures in agriculture. Building on the success of our locally-led environmental schemes through the Rural Development Programme, some of this fund will be used to fund a call for a new pilot EIP scheme on reduced management of farmed peat-land. My Department will issue a call for proposals in due course. This is designed to increase carbon sequestration and contribute to meeting our commitments as part the Government Climate Action Plan. It will also enhance the protection of bio-diversity and water quality and provide a template for action in advance of Irelands next Common Agriculture Policy.
With regard to the rest of the allocation, my officials are currently in the process of scoping out additional pilot projects that will deliver on our climate ambition and will follow my Department’s three pillar approach to carbon neutrality as highlighted above. These projects will then go through a prioritisation process to ensure that they are most effective in positive environmental impact and present best value for money. Behavioural change will be a key component of any project as action will be required on all our 139,000 farms.
My Department will continue to review options that will enable our farmers to transition to a low carbon economy while also being aware of the need to maintain economic competitiveness and increase our agricultural output.