Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2108)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

2108. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the dairy sustainability Ireland initiative and the sustainability support and advisory programme; the way in which both are interacting; the number of advisers employed in the sustainability support and advisory programme to date; and the allocated contribution for each year of the programmes. [34262/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Agricultural Support & Advisory Programme (ASSAP) is an innovative Government/industry initiative running from 2018 to 2021. It is a well structured, collaborative initiative, involving a range of stakeholders, including the wider community, to facilitate improvements in water quality. The ASSAP involves a resource of 30 Agricultural Sustainability Advisors, 20 of whom are funded by Government and 10 by the Dairy Industry. These Advisors will promote on-farm best practice to farmers in 190 ‘Areas for Action’, identified by the EPA, where the status of the water is at risk of deteriorating. Farmers can avail of this service within the ‘Areas for Action’ on a voluntary basis.

All advisors have now received comprehensive training from the EPA and Teagasc to ensure a common approach. The process of engagement with both the wider communities and with farmers in these areas is now well underway. Community meetings are taking place in the ‘Areas-for-Action’ to update people on developments in the local areas.

Projected expenditure for the 20 Sustainability Advisers and 3 Overhead Personnel being financed by Government are as follows -

2019

2020

2021

Total Annual Cost €

1,686,207

1,741,284

1,868,844