Budgtet 2018 – Statement by Minister of State Andrew Doyle TD

Budget 2018 Statements on General Financial Resolution Dáil Éireann
11 October 2017
[Check against delivery] A Cheann Comhairle, Budget 2018 provides new opportunities, builds competitiveness and protects the agri-food and fisheries sector in the face of the Brexit challenge.
 
I particularly welcome the support for the Rural Development Programme, with an increase of spending to bring the programme to €626m in 2018 and the increase of €25m in the ANC scheme, honouring a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government.
Tonight, I would like to particularly focus on my key areas of responsibility; Forestry, Horticulture, Organics and the Greyhound Sector.
 
Forestry
2018 will see continued major investment in forestry with an allocation of €106m available for forestry development.
This is evidence of the Government’s commitment to the further development of the sector in line with the Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020, recognising the role of forestry in helping to achieve climate change targets.
This allocation will allow for the planting over 6,600 new hectares of forests next year and is in fact an increase in the budget over what was spent in the last three years. There is also funding provided for over 100 km of new forest roads.
 
Horticulture
I am keenly aware of the challenges that the horticulture sector is experiencing in light of recent currency fluctuations.
The increase in the funding for the commercial Horticultural sector secured last year is maintained for 2018 with a budget of €5 million in funding for capital investments.
 
Processors of horticultural produce will qualify for the Brexit Loan Scheme which was announced yesterday and an additional loan scheme for primary producers, including horticulture producers is to be considered for next year.
Bord Bia is investing in market development programmes to assist companies facing currency challenges and will continue to work with horticulture companies to improve competitiveness.
 
Organics €11.7 million
Organic farming is a growth industry in every sense of the word. The value of the market in Ireland has grown by double digits in the last few years, and the number of producers and area under organic production has expanded also.
I welcome the sum of €11.7m available for this important sector in 2018.
€10.5m is being provided for the Organic Farming Scheme and a further €1.2m for Development of the Organic Sector.
This will provide for ongoing support to over 1,700 organic farmers under the Organic Farming Scheme, as well as wider supports in marketing, promotion and awareness, and capital investments by processors. Additional support, of over €1m is also being made available to organic farmers under the TAMS organic capital investment scheme.
With 72,000 hectares of land now under production, we have met all targets set within our Rural Development Programme and the emphasis is now on developing sustainable markets for our increased volume of organic product.
 
Greyhound Sector
Finally Ceann Comhairle, the future of the greyhound industry is dependent on a strong governance platform, the industry having the highest standards of integrity founded on strong regulatory systems and robust animal welfare controls. The allocation of €16m for the industry for 2018 will support the development of the greyhound racing sector in Ireland and ultimately provide a platform to improve its contribution to the economy. This will be further enhanced by the Greyhound Industry Bill which has progressed through Pre-legislative scrutiny stage and which I will further advance through the Oireachtas this Autumn.
 
Thank you.
Ends

Updated: 17th October 2017 — 9:21 am