A new scheme to establish Knowledge Transfer Groups (KTGs) for the forestry sector has today been announced by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle.
Each participant will receive €70 per meeting attended. KTG organisers will receive a grant payment of €6,500 per group organised.
The scheme comes on foot of a successful pilot scheme run last year for these groups.
KTGs will be facilitated by a professional forester and will incorporate both classroom-style learning, as well as practical elements.
Minister Doyle believes the groups will also encourage forest owners to engage with forestry groups and forestry professionals.
It is hoped that the groups will provide the mechanism for gaining expertise and empower KTG members to manage their own forests over its rotation.
Under the scheme, forestry groups, forestry companies and forestry consultants can apply to organise KTGs.
Minister Doyle stated that Knowledge Transfer Groups are well established in other sectors.
They are a proven method of sharing best practice among participants in a sector and are empowering members to maximise the value of their holding.
“They have a clearly defined role for the forestry sector and by filling this knowledge gap, a potential barrier to the mobilisation of timber and biomass can be removed,” he said.
According to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s recent publication ‘Forest Statistics – Ireland 2017’, nearly 21,994 unique private forest owners have received grant aid to establish forests since 1980.
The average size of these forests is just 8.8ha.
The Minister stated that working with forest owners to allow them to maximise the value of their forest “is a priority for my department”.
Doyle concluded by highlighting: “Cooperation with other forest owners will be key to this and I look forward to seeing these groups develop over time.”