The Department of Agriculture has confirmed that it will not look to introduce restrictions on the sale of farmland to foreign corporations.
The announcement was made following the EU’s attempt to tackle corporations making large-scale purchases of agricultural holdings. The European Commission have dubbed farmland as a special asset. They advise that countries can put restrictions in place to help limit price speculation. They say it would also help to preserve local communities.
The Department of Agriculture, however, say that there has been very little investment in agricultural holdings by corporations in Ireland. They say based on analysis of applications, that there are only a small number of foreign investors buying land in Ireland for use as forestry.
The Department says that out of the massive 6,500 hectares which were planted last year, 126 hectares were planted by foreign corporations. That works out to less than 2% of all planted forestry, with a majority of customers to forestry companies being farmers.
Currently, farmers are receiving an average premium of €206/ac for coniferous trees and spruce types.