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Ag Minister Outlines Main Features of 2012 Estimates

by 5m Editor
6 December 2011, at 6:58am

IRELAND - Announcing his expenditure estimates for 2012 yesterday, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD said that despite the on-going serious difficulties in the public finances, yesterday's expenditure announcement was a strong statement of support for the agri-food sector and a recognition of the contribution which the sector can make to economic recovery and future growth in the Irish economy.

Priorities

  1. To protect farm incomes targeting existing resources at active farmers;
  2. To support productivity and the up skilling of farmers and the food sector;
  3. To ensure the development of the agri-food sector incorporating investment in R+D, food safety, animal welfare and enterprise development in line with Food Harvest 2020*;
  4. Reform and continued drive for efficiency and better service delivery within the Department and associated agencies.

Funding for 2012

A total funding of €1,312m is being provided in the Department's Vote in 2012, €1,144m in current and €168m for capital expenditure. On the capital side, the Minister said that the 2012 capital allocation represents an increase of €18m on the National Recovery Plan expenditure ceiling and that this will be boosted by a further €27m by way of carry-over of savings from 2011 to provide total capital funding next year of €195m. This is a very substantial increase on the original NRP allocation of €150m and will allow a very worthwhile capital programme to be implemented next year.

The funding announced yesterday does not include the €1.3b in payments under EU funded schemes which are administered by the Department.

*Definition of Food Harvest 2020 - Government blue print for Agri-food sector developed with the food and drinks industry and chaired by the Minister

Food Harvest 2020 related measures

The Minister has announced a range of measures which will support the Food Harvest 2020 objectives, contributing to jobs and growth in the agri food sector.

Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme

The Minister confirmed the continuation of the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme and was pleased to be able to fully fund the scheme from national funds. In particular, the Minister said that despite the financial constraints he faced, he will continue to provide the necessary funding to meet all payments due in 2012 at the current rates.

Beef discussion groups

The Minister has allocated €5m towards the establishment of a Beef Technology Adoption Programme which will build on the work done to date under the Better Farm Programme. This will give beef farmers additional skills to increase productivity.

The Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes

The Minister announced the re-opening of a range of Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) which had been suspended earlier in the year because of the uncertain budgetary situation. The Minister said that he was providing funding in 2012 to enable all of the schemes to re-open, - Poultry and Pig Welfare, Dairy Equipment, Sheep Handling and Rainwater Harvesting Schemes, as well as the Bio-energy scheme. In addition to providing an incentive for farmers to invest in their enterprises and secure their futures, these schemes will make a worthwhile contribution to job creation and to the maintenance of existing jobs in rural areas.

Seafood sector

The marine and fisheries sector is particularly important to coastal communities. In addition to funding for investment schemes in the processing sector, aquaculture development and fishery harbours, the Minister said that he is providing for an increase in the grant-in-aid for BIM in recognition of the on-going valuable role which it plays in the development of the fishing sector but also in view of the added responsibility which it will have in relation to the deep sea aquaculture.

Milk levy

The Minister is beginning the consultation process for the introduction of a milk levy in the new year. The funding will be ring fenced for dairy products promotion through Bord Bia, including identifying new markets and opportunities to cater for the expanded output from 2015.

Animal Health Initiatives:

The Minister has announced a number of initiatives in relation to animal health including:

  • A voluntary BVD eradication programme
  • A new initiative to tackle Johnes Disease
  • Changes to the brucellosis testing for dairy herds

(See annex for further information)

Further Reading

- You can view the annex and further information by clicking here.