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Forestry Sector

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (773)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Question:

773. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to ensure afforestation is complementary within the next CAP to re-engage farmers in forestry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61440/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As set out in the Climate Action Plan, the Government will continue to promote afforestation to increase planting to a rate consistent with realising our 2030 climate ambition and to contribute to achieving carbon neutrality no later than 2050. To achieve this, my Department fully recognises the need for afforestation to be complimentary to CAP.

As set out in the Programme for Government, this Government is committed to a new national Forestry Programme. This new Forestry Programme will aim to highlight to farmers that forestry can represent a valuable and complementary income stream to an active farming enterprise.

The new Forestry Programme will again be funded nationally and will be subject to State Aid approval by the European Commission.

There will be close alignment between the CAP and the new national Forestry Programme.

Significant tree planting measures are proposed under both the annual Eco-Scheme and the multi-annual Agri-Environment Climate Measure for the next CAP. In addition, agricultural land with an agricultural activity, that is afforested under the next CAP will continue to qualify for Direct Payments. This will include payment under the Basic Income Support Scheme and the Eco-Scheme.

To further encourage farmers to consider afforestation, it is proposed that forestry land it will be allocated an appropriate weighting so it will also count towards a farmer’s “Space for Nature” requirement under both Conditionality and the Eco-Scheme.

The new Forestry Programme and the new CAP will provide opportunities to further align agricultural support schemes and forestry, to better integrate planting into the farming system, and to remove any barriers to uptake.

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