Fiona McLoughlin Healy welcomes support of more than €12.5 billion for the Agriculture Sector
Fine Gael Local Elections Candidate Fiona McLoughlin Healy has welcomed the allocation of more than €12.5 billion in Common Agricultural Policy and exchequer funding to the agriculture sector in the period to 2020.
“I’m delighted that the new draft Rural Development Programme for Ireland will see €12.5 billion investment in Irish agriculture. The Rural Development Programme will see more on farm investment as we grow our indigenous food and drink industry to new heights. At a time of scarce resources this represents the Government’s strong commitment to job creation and investment in our rural communities,” she stated.
“We are in a very exciting period for the agriculture sector and the agri-food industry in Ireland. In addition to the €8.5 billion in EU funding that will be paid in direct payments to farmers in the period up to 2020, €1.9 billion in national funding will be added to the €2.2 billion EU funding already secured for expenditure on rural development. It brings the total funding for the sector over the period to more than €12.5 billion. This represents a very significant, strategic financial investment in the agri-food sector, and comes on top of the large commercial investments that have been made by major players in the sector in recent times and the very positive news from Bord Bia on the continuing rise in the value of agri-food exports in 2013.”
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Simon Coveney TD has announced that Ireland should implement the so-called ‘partial convergence’ model of payment method. Under this approach, payments will move part of the way towards a national average rather than to the uniform payment also provided for under the CAP reform agreement.
“By opting for this approach, the direct payments system is made fairer and more equitable while at the same time ensuring that the level of redistribution of payments between farmers is not of a scale that could jeopardise the achievement of the Food Harvest 2020 objectives,” Fiona added.
“I am confident that the resources available to the Irish farming community will be targeted effectively and that they will add strategic value. In the case of rural development funding, this means making sure that the money spent enhances the overall competitiveness of the agri-food sector, ensures a more balanced development of rural areas, and meets environmental and sustainability challenges.”