Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue has revealed details of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding allocations for agricultural schemes at a special conference at government buildings today (Wednesday, October 20).
€2.3 billion in national co-financing will be made available over the five-year period of the CAP and will combine with over €1.56 billion in funding arising from the EU budget. The total funding for the plan is €9.8 billion.
The minister said: “The funding allocation announced today includes €723 million of carbon tax funding, and reflects the incremental nature of carbon tax revenues over the period to 2030.”
Funding for farm schemes in CAP
There is an increase in spending on the “flagship agri-environmental measure” which will replace the Green Low Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) and succeeds the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) and Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPS).
The minister continued: “A total allocation of €1.5 billion is envisaged here, which represents a significant increase on the funding in the previous programme.
“A new approach is planned which will include cooperation projects aimed at achieving landscape scale environmental benefits, and for which, participants will receive significantly higher payments.”
The minister is proposing to maintain spending in Areas of Natural Constraint (ANCs) at €250 million.
He is also planning an allocation of €260 million for a new suckler carbon efficiency programme, which will replace and build on the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP).
A further €25 million is allocated to a new dairy-beef welfare programme and €100 million for a new sheep improvement scheme.
An allocation of €256 million is to go towards land to be utilised for organic farming.
Capping and coupled payments
Capping of payments which will result in an effective cap of €66,000 and with no deduction of salaries.
The minister is also proposing to continue internal convergence on an incremental basis over the period, so that all entitlements reach a minimum level of 85% of the national entitlement value by 2026.
The new Complementary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS), or ‘front-loading’, is to be set at 10% of the direct payment ceiling and paid on the first 30ha of every farm.
This will give a total of approximately €118 million resulting in a per hectare payment of €43.
Young farmers and protein aid
3% of the value of the Pillar I budget will be allocated to a young farmers’ scheme and paid on a ‘per hectare’ basis.
“I’m also going to implement the National Reserve each year of CAP Strategic Plan (CSP) to fund the minimum and mandatory categories of young farmer,” the minister continued.
There is a €7 million per annum allocation for the Protein Aid Scheme, an increase of €4 million on the previous CAP plan.
Eco-schemes in CAP
The minister is proposing to allocate 25% of funding per annum for eco-schemes equating to about €297 million each year.
He is also proposing to allow farmers to choose from a range of agricultural practices that would be beneficial in terms of climate, biodiversity, water quality and the wider environment.
These schemes will be available to ‘active’ farmers and payments will be made on all eligible hectares.
According to the Deaprtment of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), the CSP is structured around the achievement of three general objectives, as set out in EU legislation, namely:
- To foster a smart, competitive, resilient and diversified agricultural sector ensuring long term food security;
- To support and strengthen environmental protection, including biodiversity, and climate action, and to contribute to achieving the environmental and climate-related objectives of the EU, including its commitments under the Paris Agreement;
- To strengthen the socio-economic fabric of rural areas.
The EU budget agreement provided for a total CAP funding for Ireland of €7.5 billion over the five-year period from 2023 to 2027.
The funding is split between Pillar I (direct payments and sectoral Interventions -€5.9 billion) and Pillar II (rural development – €1.56 billion).