Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
29. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to implement the new REAP scheme as the environmental scheme in the next CAP; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38164/21]
The Department is currently developing a new agri-environment climate measure for inclusion in Ireland’s draft Strategic Plan required under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with, as stated in the Programme for Government, some elements being piloted in the transitional phase between the CAP programming periods.
The Results-based Environment-Agri Pilot (REAP) is the means by which those elements are being piloted, and it is currently proposed that the two actions in REAP will form part of the wider menu of options offered to farmers in the new agri-environment climate measure (AECM). REAP is an innovative and farmer-friendly pilot that will deliver an important income boost for farmers while also developing knowledge of results-based payments, and the way in which those payments may be maximised. It will help the Department, and indeed farmers and their advisors, to test some innovative actions and results-based scoring, with a view to including those actions in the next AECM.
The scheme is currently being implemented on the ground and the first of the scorecards are starting to be returned by advisors on behalf of scheme participants. I was delighted to see such strong interest in REAP with over 11,000 applications received. It shows that farmers are keen on this approach.
A key factor in the design is the increased environmental ambition required under the new CAP. The experience gained from the agri-environment climate measure in the Rural Development Plan 2014-2020, with the Green Low Carbon Agri-environment Scheme (GLAS), and the locally-led projects funded by the Department is informing the design process, as will the lessons learnt from REAP. The Department is also engaging with the CAP consultative committee, which comprises of a wide range of stakeholders, on elements of the Green Architecture.
My clear intention is to deliver an agri-environmental climate scheme that is ambitious in terms of rewarding farmers financially while protecting the environment and contributing to climate targets.