Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (485)

Seán Fleming


485. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding increasing the payment under the suckler cow scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21648/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I am deeply committed to fully supporting and developing Ireland’s beef sector. I am strongly of the view that the existing range of supports available to beef farmers under the Rural Development Programme (RDP), together with ensuring access to as many markets as possible, both for live animals and beef exports, are appropriate for the continued development of the sector.

The Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) is currently the main support specifically targeted for the suckler sector, which provides Irish beef farmers with some €300 million in funding over the current RDP period. Building on this is the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP), a €20 million pilot project for 2019. There is no scope for the introduction of a €200 suckler payment under the current RDP.

My Department has rolled out a range of schemes as part of the €4 billion Rural Development Programme (RDP), 2014 - 2020. In addition to the BDGP, other supports which are available for suckler farmers under Pillar II of the CAP include GLAS, ANCs and Knowledge Transfer Groups. Suckler farmers also benefit from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening payments under CAP Pillar I.

My Department is examining all appropriate measures to support the different agrifood sectors, including the suckler sector in preparation for the next iteration of the CAP, and through the next Agri Food strategy to 2030. My view is that such measures should support and encourage suckler farmers to make the best decisions possible to improve the profitability and the economic and environmental efficiency of their farming system.