Possibility of reopening crop loss support scheme ruled out

The possibility of the Weather Related Crop Loss Support Measure reopening has been ruled out by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

The minister was responding to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail TD Bobby Aylward.

Deputy Aylward also asked if the possibility of seeking permission from the EU to establish an adverse weather scheme under the rural development programme for persons that have suffered crop losses in 2017 due to adverse weather conditions will be examined.

In response, Minister Creed wished to acknowledge “the importance of the tillage sector and its contribution to the competitive development of the agri-food industry”.

This valuable sector has encountered some challenging times recently, including a number of years of weak markets and a period of challenging weather in the autumn of 2016.

“My department is working with all of the stakeholders to address various challenges and provides a range of supports to underpin the sector,” he said.

The minister explained that a Weather Related Crop Loss Support Measure was introduced in July 2017, in response to the exceptionally challenging weather conditions experienced during the harvest period in 2016.

“This was a one-off targeted measure, confined to addressing that event.

“Ireland’s 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme does not contain a measure for restoring agricultural production potential damaged by natural disasters and introduction of appropriate prevention.

“Following detailed analysis and public consultation at the formation of the programme, it was concluded that because of its geographic position Ireland is not generally prone to suffering from natural disasters and that pre-existing nationally funded measures are considered to be sufficient to address any possibilities,” he said.

Minister Creed also added that a Tillage Capital Investment Scheme was introduced under TAMS II in 2017 to support tillage farmers and that he is also considering the development of a potential Brexit response loan scheme for farmers, fishermen and for longer-term capital financing for food businesses.

The department has secured €25 million in funding for this initiative in 2018.