Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, brought Ireland’s finalised CAP Strategic Plan (CSP) 2023-2027 to Cabinet for approval.
The Cabinet approved the Plan, which had already received the green light from the European Commission in August, noting also that it has undergone Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment.
Minister McConalogue said “I am delighted to announce that this morning the government approved the finalised CAP Strategic Plan 2023 – 2027. This is a farmer-friendly, fair and well-funded CAP.
“It will deliver some €9.8 billion to our farm families over the next five years to support them to continue to produce world-class, safe and sustainable food as well as supporting them in their important work of meeting our climate ambitions.”
Acknowledging the support at Cabinet for the Plan, the Minister commented: “I acknowledge the support of the rest of the cabinet in particular the Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath who has always understood the need for supporting our farm families through the CAP.
“There has also been constructive engagement from all Ministers throughout the process, which delivered not just increased funding for the sector but also featured closer collaboration than ever before from all of the relevant departments in the design of the Plan. This collaboration will continue throughout the implementation process as we seek to achieve in particular the maximum environmental ambition through close monitoring and evaluation of progress.”
The plan will provide vital support to farmers and rural communities. It aims to meet the twin objectives of ensuring the continued viability of family farms and maximising the environmental and social sustainability of the sector.
Speaking at the announcement Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity Senator Pippa Hackett said:
“This CAP is very different from previous plans. It contains a host of measures that I know will deliver for farmers, their families, and their incomes, while also protecting our soil, water, habitats and climate.
“In particular, I am pleased with the fivefold increase in funding to support organic farming which will help us achieve our target of 330,000ha of organically farmed land by the end of the upcoming CAP period.
“It will also support women who are heads of farm households. I am very happy to see that women farmers will qualify for higher TAMS grants and also that there will be separate Knowledge Transfer Groups for women.
“Finally, this CAP will deliver for both farming and the environment. The soil sampling programme, the farm environment study, the Life projects we support, and the All-Ireland pollinator plan are all feeding into this plan, while we are also building on our EIP knowledge and experience by incorporating new EIPs to help breeding waders and to target water quality. I am confident that CAP will now deliver results – for our farmers, for nature, for biodiversity, and for climate.”
Minister of State with responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety, and New Market Development, Martin Heydon, noted:
“The CAP is among the EU’s pillar policies and one which Ireland has always strongly supported. Central to its success has been protecting farm incomes and underpinning food production across Europe while delivering on a range of policy objectives. This Strategic Plan marks a step change in how farmers’ health, safety, and well-being is integrated into farm support.
“Across a range of schemes, we have built-in health and safety training while also prioritising it in the on-farm capital investment scheme. This will ensure we reach a wider audience of farmers than we have in previous CAPs – a positive from a farm safety and farm efficiency perspective. I believe this plan will help to drive down the unacceptable high number of fatal incidents on farms in the years ahead.”
Emphasising the important contribution of stakeholders, Minister McConalogue added: “I would like to take this opportunity to again thank all stakeholders for their engagement in the process, not least through the CAP Stakeholder Consultative Committee, which has worked tirelessly over the last three years and contributed significantly to both the reform process and the development of the CAP Strategic Plan.”
Concluding, the Minister noted that his department has commenced work on the preparatory steps for implementation of schemes ahead of their upcoming launch dates, and welcomed the very positive engagement with farmers on these new schemes at the recent National Ploughing Championships.