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Doyle welcomes Budget 2019 Allocation for Forestry, Horticulture, Organics and Greyhound Sectors

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle TD, today welcomed the expenditure allocations announced in Budget 2019.

Expenditure next year will amount to –

  • €103m for the Forestry Programme, 
  • €6m in capital investment for the commercial horticulture sector,
  • €16.8m for Bord na gCon,
  • €11m is being provided for the Organic Farming Scheme and a further €1.2m for development of the Organic Sector.

Forestry 
Minister Doyle welcomed the continuation of support for the development of forestry in Ireland with the allocation of €103m (including a capital carryover) for 2019.  

This level of investment by the Government recognises the on-going contribution of the forestry sector in Ireland and its importance for both the rural economy and for helping achieve climate change mitigation targets. 2018 has seen a re-orientation in forestry policy, with a higher grant available for broadleaf plantings, as part of the mid-term review of our national Forestry Programme and 2019 will see a further implementation of this.”

Minister added, “My Department, along with Teagasc and all relevant stakeholders, will continue to actively promote afforestation.  Forestry is a viable land use option and can provide an important alternative income stream for farmers which can complement their overall farm enterprise. In addition we will also be funding other forestry initiatives including the Neighbourwood scheme and the recently launched Woodland Environmental Fund.

Next year’s funding will also prioritise measures to encourage and facilitate the mobilisation of the private timber resource. 2018 saw the successful launch of the forestry Knowledge Transfer Scheme and my Department has secured additional funding to continue this Scheme into 2019.  Knowledge transfer is a key mechanism to support forest owners in mobilising their timber and realising the return on their investment. Forestry support schemes, such as Forest Roads, which also contribute to this goal, will again receive significant support in 2019.”

Horticulture - €6m
Funding for capital investments in the commercial horticulture sector has been increased by an additional €1 million to €6 million for 2019 in response to strong demand for investment within the sector and the emerging challenges of Brexit.

“Ireland’s horticulture sector faces a number of challenges in the context of Brexit; however the sector still has significant potential for development. Today’s budget puts the resources in place to maximise the industry’s competitiveness and give growers the potential to capitalise on the opportunities that lie ahead building on the work being done in relation to financial mentoring and lean process within the sector .”

Bord na gCon
Greyhound racingmakes a substantial contribution to the economy in terms of jobs, estimated at 5,000, and as recently as 2017 was also estimated by Jim Power, Economic Consultant, to contribute €300 million annually into local economies.

I am delighted with the allocation of €16.8m (Additional €0.8m) for the industry for 2019. The Irish Greyhound Board earlier this year launched its Strategic Plan for the period 2018-2022 and has commenced implementation of many of the actions in the Plan. The extra funding will be targeted at a range of initiatives including increased investment in stadia, wider marketing and actions to further enhance greyhound welfare.

I will shortly be introducing a Greyhound Racing Bill in the Seanad, this will be published in the coming days and will provide a sound framework for improved governance and regulation in the greyhound industry and the regulatory provisions contained in the Bill will greatly enhance integrity in the sport and the welfare of greyhounds.

Organics €12.2million
Funding for the Organic Farming Scheme has been increased this year to €11m with a further €1.2m provided for Development of the Organic Sector. 

Noting the increased allocation provided for Organics Minister Doyle said “I welcome this increase in funding for the Organic sector in 2019. This €12.2m is evidence of the Government’s commitment to this important sector and will allow for the continued support of over 1,700 organic farmers under the Organic Farming Scheme. In addition it will enable further development across the sector in areas such as marketing, promotion and public awareness.”

The Minister noted that consumer demand for organic food is increasing nationally and globally, with the Irish organic market now valued at over €200 million.   The Minister added “With the increased volume of organic product that is being produced here, the challenge now is to develop sustainable markets.  In this regard I established a high level Organic Strategy Group tasked with developing a strategy for the development of the Organic Sector for the period up to 2025.  I expect to have the Group's recommendations before the end of this year.”

ENDS

Date Released: 09 October 2018