In two separate announcements today, Minister Doyle announced the payment under the organic Farming scheme, while Creed announced funding for innovation.
In the first of the announcements today, Minister Andrew Doyle has announced that organic scheme advance payments have commenced. The Minister spoke of his delight at being able to make the announcement, while he praised the work the scheme has done.
“I am delighted to announce that advance payments under this scheme are starting to flow for Organic farmers. I am very pleased that we have met our commitment to commence these payments in December as promised,” he said.
“The scheme is one of our key drivers in increasing Irish organic output which will help us exploit the vast market opportunities internationally for this product”, he continued.
The Organic Farming Scheme is a major scheme under Ireland’s Rural Development Programme. Some 1,600 farmers receive a payment under this scheme to support their organic enterprise and these advance payments consist of 85% of the full payment due for the year. The balancing payments for the remaining 15% will be paid in 2018 as per EU rules. Annual payments under the Organic Farming Scheme come to just over €10m.
The first advance payments have issued to some participant’s bank accounts this week, according to Doyle, with more scheduled to issue during the last week in December.
In other news, Minister Creed has announced funding of €11m for Innovation Projects in the country. Creed, today announced the results of a competitive process to select the successful proposals to be funded under the European Innovation Partnerships Initiative (EIP). Projects developed under this open call are developed by Operational Groups which will be funded under Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020.
The Minister added his delight at being able to announce funding for the twelve projects and said it is an exciting time for the agri-food sector.
“I am delighted to announce the 12 successful projects today under this scheme. These exciting projects will deliver novel solutions to challenges facing the Irish agri-food sector and the rural economy,” he said.
“They align well with our RDP and national priorities, particularly on environmental sustainability. The exciting range of projects selected will address challenges such as biodiversity, profitability and sustainability, and will harness the creativity and resourcefulness which is the hallmark of Ireland’s rural sector”. Creed continued.
European Innovation Partnership:
The key elements of EIP include the identification of challenges in the sector and the development of innovative solutions by people who are already involved in the sector. They fund co-operation between different stakeholders including farmers, researchers, advisors and businesses.
The EIP requires that projects are centred around an Operational Group, which brings together actors such as farmers, researchers, advisors and agri-businesses to identify innovative solutions to particular challenges.
The Minister confirmed the €11m funding and said the whole process was competitive.
“Today’s announcement sees funding of approximately €11m being allocated to 12 new EIPs. This was an exceptionally competitive process and all projects were thorough assessment process to identify the best schemes,” he said.
“In each case, innovative ideas have been developed from the bottom up, by people currently working in the sector. These projects offer great potential to help us to build on the success of the agri-food sector in recent years, and to address some of the remaining challenges with fresh approaches,” he concluded.