Written answers

Thursday, 13 June 2024

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Tillage Sector

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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120. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the degree to which cereal growing continues to be attractive in Ireland; if its viability is coming under pressure from other jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25868/24]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The competitiveness of Irish cereal production compares very favourably to other EU countries.

However, the prolonged period of very wet weather since last summer resulted in significant challenges for tillage farmers in getting crops planted for this year’s harvest. The area of winter cereal crops is down compared to previous years, while most planting of spring cereals took place much later than normal. This follows what was also a very challenging year for growers in 2023.

In response to these challenges, I introduced additional measures to support the sector in 2023. The Straw Incorporation Measure has an annual budget of €10m in the CAP Strategic Plan and €16.5m was paid out to farmers last year. I also allocated additional funding of €3.1m to the Protein Aid Scheme last year bringing the budget for protein aid to €10.1m in 2023. The Tillage Incentive Scheme paid €8.3m in 2023 while an additional €14.3m was paid to growers in January this year by way of an Unharvested Crop Support Scheme and a once-off flat rate payment on the area of oilseed rape and cereals.

Recognising the difficulties faced by tillage growers this spring, I made a commitment that I would work to deliver a €100 per hectare payment for crops planted for this year’s harvest. My Department is working on the next steps to deliver this payment, including the identification of appropriate funding and the necessary State Aid and other approvals.

The tillage sector is an important and integral component of the Agri-food industry and is a sector that I want to see grow and develop. That is why I established the Food Vision Tillage Group in May 2023 to set out a road map for the sustainable growth and development of the sector to 400,000ha by 2030. I recently received the final report from the group and my Department is now working on putting an implementation plan in place.


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