Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Ceisteanna (377)

Lisa Chambers


377. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the current and proposed Brexit support schemes for famers; and the current take-up in tabular form. [15007/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In order to help mitigate the impacts of Brexit on the farming sector, I have introduced a number of budgetary measures over the last three years which have been aimed at helping farmers to improve competitiveness, as well as helping the sector more widely to develop market diversification  opportunities so that its exposure to the UK market can be reduced.

These measures include a series of low cost Brexit Loan Schemes, the latest of which is the Future Growth Loan Scheme, announced last week and operated jointly by my Department and by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. This new Scheme will facilitate the rollout of €300m worth of investment loans to eligible Irish businesses, including farmers. The loans will be competitively priced, will be for terms of 8-10 years and will support strategic long-term investment in a post-Brexit environment.  The Scheme will run for three years and businesses will be able to apply for loan eligibility through the SBCI from 17th April.  An earlier scheme available to farmers, introduced in Budget 2017, made €145m available to 4,250 applicants.

I also introduced a €78m Brexit package in Budget 2019 which included support for farmers and fishermen. The package included €23m in additional support for farmers in Areas of Natural Constraint, and €20m to applicants for the new Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot Scheme.

I also allocated additional grant monies to Bord Bia and Teagasc for market and product diversification. These measures are complemented by intensified trade missions and market access activity in order to increase the sector’s global footprint across the world and reduce our exposure to the UK market.  

I also recently met with Commissioner Hogan to discuss the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit on the sector, and stressed the need to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on farmers and processors. The Commissoner confirmed the EU’s readiness to respond and support Ireland, and my Department’s officials are continuing to explore potential options with their Commission counterparts in this regard.