Thursday, 22 May 2003
Dáil Eireann Debate
38. Mr. J. Brady asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the rates of payment and the total annual expenditure for 2003 and for each of the years covered by the partnership agreement recently concluded with the farming organisations regarding the REP scheme, the dairy hygiene scheme and the farm waste management scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13941/03]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): Under the terms of the partnership agreement, Sustaining Progress, the Government undertook in relation to REPS, to seek approval in negotiation with the EU Commission, to increase the rates of payment with a view to increasing participation from 37,000 farmers at present to 55,000 farmers by the end of 2005. On this basis, the proposed new rates would be €200 for the first 20 hectares, €175 for the next 20 hectares, €70 for the next 15 hectares, cumulative up to a maximum of 55 hectares per holding.
This would in effect mean that a REPs farmer with a holding of 20 hectares would receive €4,000 per annum; a holding of 40 hectares would receive €7,500 per annum; and a holding of 55 hectares would receive €8,550 per annum.
With regard to the farm waste management scheme, it was agreed, subject to EU approval, that the income unit ceiling for payments under this scheme should be increased from 200 to 450 income units and the investment ceiling from €50,790 to €75,000. The possibility of adjusting or removing the current minimum income limit will also be pursued with the EU Commission.
As regards the dairy hygiene scheme, it was agreed that the investment ceiling here should be increased from €31,743 to €50,000, again subject to EU approval. Standard costings relating to both the farm waste management scheme and the Dairy Hygiene Scheme are also to be updated.
An allocation of €190 million has been provided for REPS in my Department's Estimate for 2003. A sum of €19 million has been provided for expenditure under the farm waste management scheme and €2.1 million for expenditure under the dairy hygiene scheme.
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