Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (171, 172)

Seymour Crawford

Question:

286 Mr. Crawford asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the amount of money farmers received as payment by his Department in each of the past ten years for the control of farmyard pollution, dairy hygiene grants and other farm building grants; if he has satisfied himself that sufficient funds will be available over the next number of years to support farmers in the provision of the extra slurry accommodation to meet this Government's proposed action plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2076/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture and Food)

The details requested by the Deputy are as follows:

Year

Farm Pollution

Dairy Hygiene

Other

(€m)

(€m)

(€m)

1995

28.790

1.919

31.537

1996

47.109

9.387

24.030

1997

59.708

14.422

16.289

1998

23.729

10.046

10.088

1999

12.949

5.857

7.251

2000

6.289

5.779

8.008

2001

14.073

0.328

0.058

2002

14.895

2.448

0.512

2003

22.266

2.499

0.815

2004 (to date)

1.459

0.129

0.056

Total

231.267

52.814

98.644

As part of the Sustaining Progress agreement, the farm waste management scheme was revised with effect from 1 January 2004 by increasing the income units, IUs, for eligibility under the scheme from 200 IUs to 450 IUs; increasing the investment ceiling from €50,790 to €75,000; and introducing a standard grant rate of 40% for most investments. I am satisfied that the significant increase in the financial allocation for 2004 will be sufficient to meet the likely increased uptake by farmers in 2004 under the scheme which may arise as a result of these changes.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

287 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if the REP scheme payment will be increased this year; the amount it will be increased by; the people who will qualify for it; from when it will be operative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2085/04]

View answer

Changes to payment rates and other aspects of the rural environment protection scheme will require an amendment to the CAP rural development plan and I have submitted the necessary proposals to the European Commission. These proposals provide for increased payment rates, in line with the Government commitment in Sustaining Progress, as follows: Up to 20ha: €200/ha; 20ha — 40ha: €175/ha; 40ha — 55ha: €70/ha.

Participation in REPS requires farmers to farm to a standard that goes beyond normal good farming practice. The scheme is open to all farmers who are prepared to assume such undertakings.

Discussions on the proposals have already taken place between the Commission and officials of my Department. While the formal procedures of the Commission will to some extent determine how long it takes to secure approval for the changes, I will do everything possible to expedite matters and I will introduce the new scheme without delay once I have secured the Commission's approval.

Question No. 288 answered with QuestionNo. 269.