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Agriculture; Food and the Marine | Tillage sector supports

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the extent to which the cereal growing sector is adequately supported; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The tillage sector is a sector that plays a critical role in Irish agriculture.  It is a sector I have backed with new and innovative schemes and a sector that I will continue to support in the future.
In recent years I have supported the sector through targeted policy interventions and supports.
This has included the Protein Aid scheme that was introduced in 2015 with a budget of €3m. The budget for this scheme has been increased to €7m in Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan (CSP) 2023-2023.
I introduced the Straw Incorporation Measure as a pilot measure in 2021. This measure will deliver an estimated €12m in support for the tillage sector in 2022 and will be continued in the CSP 2023-2027.
Earlier this year, I introduced the Tillage Incentive Scheme (TIS) with a €400/ha payment on additional crop area. I bolstered the existing Protein Scheme by guaranteeing a €300/ha payment on beans, peas and lupins and I also introduced a Protein Cereal mixed crop scheme. These measures have been acknowledged as contributing to the estimated 6% increase in tillage area in 2022.
The Tillage Incentive Scheme is being continued for 2023 with a budget of €10million to maintain and build on the progress made by the Scheme in 2022.
The Tillage Capital Investment Scheme provides support to farmers to invest in modern equipment and infrastructure.  To date, tillage farmers have received €31m in financial support under the scheme. Targeted support for capital investment in the tillage crops sector will continue in the next CAP.
I have also provided for measures which tillage farmers can access in the Agri-Environmental and Climate Measures in the next CSP.
My Department conducts a comprehensive variety trialling system to identify varieties most suitable for Irish farmers and also supports the industry through the seed certification schemes which ensures growers have access to top quality seed.
The tillage sector is a sector that we can grow significantly in the years ahead and I will continue to back the industry to develop on this potential.

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