Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary, has outlined the main elements of the July Stimulus which will benefit the agri-food and marine sector.
Speaking on Friday, July 24, Minister Calleary said: “It is crucial that we address the financial needs of all businesses, including those in the agri-food sector, farmers, fishers and food businesses; they will need support both for working capital and longer-term investment.
“I welcome the inclusion of farmers and fishers in the new €2 billion Credit Guarantee Scheme and confirmation of the further expansion of €500 million of the Future Growth Loan Scheme.
“Coupled with the range of other supports announced in the July Stimulus, it is a comprehensive package of measures,” the minister added.
The stimulus package also includes an increased capital allocation of €17 million to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for:
Additional allocation for on-farm renewable energy investments under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS);
Investment in a large-scale habitat restoration project by Coillte.
Commenting on these additional investments, Minister Calleary said:
”This government has set ambitious targets for our agriculture and forestry sectors to contribute to the environmental goals in the Programme for Government.
“On-farm renewable energy generation offers huge scope for contributing to these goals and I am very pleased with the significantly growing numbers of applications under our TAMS scheme for the solar investments in particular.”
This is in addition to the range of specific supports already put in place for the sector as part of the government’s economic response to Covid challenges, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Such supports include:
An allocation of €50 million in exchequer funding has been provided for the beef sector for a support scheme for beef finishing farms which have been severely impacted – the details of which will be announced shortly;
Following a campaign by member states, spear-headed by Ireland, the European Commission introduced a scheme of aids to private storage (APS) under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which has been of benefit for the dairy sector in particular;
Various practical flexibilities for applications for the main farm schemes have been introduced.
Continuing, Minister Calleary stated:
“The agri-food and marine sector proved its resilience through the crisis, continuing farming and food processing activities, keeping supply chains moving, and ensuring that Irish food and drink products remained on Irish, European and international supermarket shelves throughout.
“Later this year, to coincide with the budget in October, the government will set out a National Economic Plan.
“I will ensure that my department and its agencies, in consultation with stakeholders, will continue to monitor the impacts on the agri-food sector as the situation evolves, and to provide appropriate supports to the sector,” he said.
Minister of State Senator Pippa Hackett also welcomed the additional investments adding:
“I’m very pleased to see the focus in the stimulus package on large-scale environmental projects. This will help to further position Irish agriculture and the forestry sector as a world leader in sustainability.
I’m particularly delighted with the allocation for the large-scale habitat restoration project by Coillte on Atlantic blanket bog. This is a 2,100ha project which will restore Coillte lands through rewetting the peat soils focused on rare habitats.
“It will deliver significant environmental gain through both biodiversity and climate benefits as well as delivering enhanced recreation and public amenity value.
“The establishment by Coillte of its non-profit Coillte Nature division has facilitated the scope for these types of projects and I congratulate Coillte on its initiative and ambition for this project,” Minister Hackett concluded.