The Rural Development Programme, 2014-2020 (RDP) will be co-funded from the National Exchequer and the EU’s European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The agreement reached on the Multiannual Financial Framework provides for a total allocation of EU funding of €2.19 billion (€313m per annum over 7 years) to Ireland for a new RDP. €2.037 billion of the EU funding is allocated to measures to be delivered via the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, with the remainder allocated to LEADER funding which is administered by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
The Government has shown its commitment to a strategic investment in Rural Ireland and the agri-food sector by providing matching National Exchequer funding at the rate of 46% to supplement the €2.037 billion EU allocation. In addition to this money, there is also an additional allocation from the current RDP 2007-2013 to be spent in 2014 and 2015. When taken in conjunction with the allocation of funding for LEADER measures, this represents a fund of over €4 billion for investment in rural development measures in the period to 2020.
The recently published consultation document on the new RDP sets out a range of proposed measures for inclusion.
The main areas proposed for support in the new RDP are:
- a substantial new agri-environment/climate scheme (GLAS), which will build on the progress made under REPS and AEOS. This will provide for a maximum payment of €5,000 for up to 50,000 farmers, and a further payment of up to €2,000 for a limited number of farmers who take on particularly challenging actions,
- continued strong support for disadvantaged areas (now Areas of Natural Constraint), to the tune of about €195 million per year,
- incentives for on-farm capital investment (€290 million outlined in the consultation document),
- knowledge transfer and innovation measures, aimed at underpinning farm viability, sustainability and growth through the adoption of best practice and innovative solutions, including in the beef and sheep sectors (estimated at €20m per annum in the consultation document when fully up and running),
- a beef data and genomics measure worth up to €52 million per year aimed at improving the genetic quality of the beef herd, and
- other supports aimed at collaborative farming, artisan producers, organic farming, etc.
The annual expenditure for each proposed measure over the lifetime of the new RDP will be subject to the normal annual budgetary procedure.
The findings from the recent consultation process are currently feeding into the ongoing design work in my Department. The final decisions have not yet been made on the measures to be included in the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020, and the precise allocation of funding is being developed as part of the RDP design process.