Killeen Says Budget 2010 Protects Farmers And Irish Agri-Food Sector
The Government’s Budget for 2010 has provided clear assurances that farmers’ livelihoods and the agri-food sector will be protected, according to Clare Junior Agriculture Minister Tony Killeen, T.D.
[UKPRwire, Thu Dec 10 2009] Reacting to Wednesday’s Budget, Minister of State Killeen noted that it protected the vital agricultural schemes and that a new agri-environment scheme would be launched next year.
He said: “The Government recognises the fact that the agriculture sector has experienced a particularly difficult year, with low commodity prices and poor weather impacting adversely on farmers' incomes. As a result it has decided to maintain spending on the Disadvantaged Area Scheme at the 2009 level of EUR220 million, continue the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme payments in 2010 at the 2009 rate of EUR40 per animal, and continue payments to existing REPS' participants and to launch a new agri-environmental scheme in 2010. Approximately EUR330 million will be spent on agri-environment schemes in 2010”.
Meanwhile, Minister of State Killeen said he was delighted that the Organic Farming Scheme, which has been temporarily suspended, will re-open on 1 January 2010. In addition, the provision for horticulture is being maintained at 2009 levels of EUR4 million, which will facilitate a call for new horticulture investment projects in 2010.
The Clare T.D. also confirmed that overall expenditure on forestry and bioenergy would increase in 2010 to more than EUR121 million. “This increase includes a capital provision of EUR116 million with an increased provision of almost EUR105 million for forestry planting and premia, demonstrating the Government's continued commitment to this vital sector, as set out in the recently revised Programme for Government”, stated Minister of State Killeen.
The estimate does not include EU funding of EUR1.34 billion, which will bring total expenditure by the Department in 2010 to over EUR3 billion. The Department has paid approximately EUR1.24 billion in the 2009 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) or 99 per cent of the total SPS budget.
Minister of State Killeen confirmed that significant funding will continue to be provided for the food industry in 2010 in the form of marketing and processing grant aid to meet commitments under the Beef and Dairy Investment Schemes, as well as through funding for investment in Research and Development. The Minister also warmly welcomed the decision of the Government to approve a EUR100 million fund to improve the food industry's competitiveness over the next four years.
The Minister confirmed that a number of new schemes under the revised Rural Development Programme (RDP), which are in negotiation with the European Commission, will be launched next year and, although significant expenditure is unlikely to take place until 2011,
The Supplementary Estimate, approved by the Dáil on Tuesday night, provided for an additional EUR15 million for the Farm Improvement Scheme in 2009, bringing to EUR30 million the total expenditure on the Scheme this year. The 2010 Estimate allocates a further EUR19 million to the scheme, an increase of EUR4 million (27 per cent) on the original 2009 allocation.
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