Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Questions (450)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

450. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the increase in funding planned for 2021 for the organic farmers scheme; if changes are planned to the minimum qualifying score which would bring more organic farmers into the scheme; the reason for the changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9657/20]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Organic Farming Scheme has been one of the most successful schemes under the current Rural Development Plan (2014 - 2020). It will fully consume the budget of €56m that was allocated to it for the period 2014 to 2020.

The Scheme has more than achieved its targets in terms of new land converted and the maintenance of organic land. Latest figures indicate that there are now some 74,000 hectares under organic production, an increase of nearly 50% on the position at the start of the Programme in 2014.

As there has been a delay in agreeing the EU budget and the new CAP reform regulations, transitional arrangements will be made to provide legal and financial certainty for RDP schemes for 2021. The European Commission has therefore introduced draft transitional Regulations to cover the period between the current RDP which expires this year and the commencement of the next. These transitional regulations which will govern the position of schemes in 2021 have not yet been finalised.