Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
I can assure the Deputy that I am committed to supporting both the beef and sheep sectors as they play a huge role in our world-leading agri food sector. Our beef and sheep farmers are the bedrock of our sector.
In Budget 2022, I announced that more than €100 million will be provided in 2022 in targeted supports for the beef and sheep sectors including BDGP, BEEP-S, Sheep Welfare Scheme and Dairy Calf Programme.
As the Deputy will be aware, I have recently announced the details of the new €9.8 billion CAP 2023 – 2027 budget and have given indicative allocations for each intervention in Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan.
The proposed list of interventions has been developed following an extensive period of consultations conducted by he Department over the past two years including engagement with the national CAP Stakeholder Consultative Committee and, most recently, a detailed public consultation that attracted over 1,000 submissions, and an ongoing series of in person, mart meetings over the past few weeks.
It should be noted that funding over the seven-year period 2021-2027 is increased by almost 30%, or €1.2 billion, compared to the 2014-2020 period. In relation to the suckler scheme an allocation of €260 million has been provided for the suckler carbon efficiency programme. For sheep farmers, an allocation of €100 million was made for a sheep improvement scheme.
Details of these schemes will be announced in due course. In addition to these specific measures, suckler and sheep farmers can avail of a range of other CAP measures including ANC, AECM and the Organic Farming Scheme.
I regret entirely the notion that farmers are being sold out in the recent CAP proposals. In fact, the proposals for Pillar II of the CAP Strategic Plan provide record funding for farmers, and much of this funding will be made available to suckler and sheep farmers.
Farmers can be assured that they will receive continued support in the ongoing economic and environmentally sustainable development of the sectors. The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 supports Ireland’s transition to Net Zero and achieve a climate neutral economy no later than 2050.
There are also strong synergies between effective climate action and the market dynamics for beef and sheep meat. Any failure to address climate and environmental issues will ultimately militate against the best interests of the agriculture sector.
AgClimatise, the National Climate and Air Roadmap for the Agriculture Sector published by my Department last December, is a living document which sets out 29 actions designed to achieve a climate neutral agriculture sector. In addition, I am confident that the strategic framework set out in the recently published Food Vision 2030 strategy, sets out an effective pathway to deal with these challenges, while establishing Ireland as a world leader in sustainable food systems.
The Department and I continue to prioritise supporting sustainable development including through targeted supports aimed at supporting primary producers to increase the environmental and economic efficiency of their operations.