Wednesday, 4 December 2002
Dáil Eireann Debate
136. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if REP scheme payments are a compensation for Framework Documents plans and compensation for loss in real terms for the western farmer. [25171/02]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): Farmers who have commonage land in REPS qualify for generous payments of up to €242 per hectare. My Department was obliged to provide the European Commission with detailed justification for this level of payments in terms of additional costs and income forgone by farmers as a result of following more extensive farming methods. It includes an element of €90 per hectare which relates specifically to reductions in ewe numbers. Farmers may opt for a complementary scheme of compensation, to be operated by Dúchas, instead of REPS.
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): REPS payments, as approved by the EU Commission, are calculated taking account of income foregone and costs incurred by participants generally as a result of following more extensive farming practices, together with an incentive element. The incentive element of general REPS payments is 10% for holdings between 20 and 40 hectares and 20%, the maximum percentage allowed under the relevant EU regulation, for holdings under 20 hectares.
Since REPS payments are area-based, the amount of the payment reckonable as disposable income will vary from farmer to farmer because the income forgone and costs incurred will be different in every case.
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