Some 30,000 farmers are expected to enter the Green Low Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) next year when it is opened, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced.

Speaking at the launch of the Rural Development Programme (2014-2020) today, Minister Simon Coveney said the new Programme will have an average annual spend of €600 million every year for the six years.

The TAMS scheme, he said, will see its funding increase from €300 million to almost €400 million, while the organic sector will see its funding double to €44 million.

Ireland he said had not been successful in growing the organic sector to date. “We need to increase supports and funding for the sector.”

Honey production and apple growing received special mention from the Minister and he said they are two areas that need to be grown significantly.

The full submission of the new plan will be made in June, he said, and he expects approval in the autumn. The GLAS scheme, he said, should be open by the end of the year or early 2015 at the latest.

Other details today included funding of €1,450 million under the GLAS scheme and on-farm capital investment of €395 million.  The Beef Genomics Programme will receive funding of €295 million, while Knowledge Transfer Measures (Discussion Groups) will be eligible for €112 million.