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Doyle welcomes Budget 2017 allocation for Forestry, Horitculture, Organics and Greyhound sectors

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Andrew Doyle TD has today welcomed the allocation in Budget 2017. Expenditure next year will amount to € 111.6 million for the Forestry Programme, €16 million for Bord na gCon, €5 million in capital investment for the commercial horticulture sector, and €10 million for the organics sector.

€111.6m (including a capital carryover) will be made available for forestry development during 2017. This level of funding is further evidence of the Government’s ongoing commitment to the sector as set out in the Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020. It will ensure continued progress in the drive towards increased forest cover and mobilisation of the existing timber and biomass resource, two core objectives necessary for growing Ireland’s timber processing industry. The level of funding provided is also significant given the recent EU proposals on climate change mitigation and the potential role of forestry in helping to achieve the targets set.

Minister Doyle said, “The funding being provided will allow for over 7,100ha of new forests to be planted almost 800ha more than the total area planted in 2015. Most importantly for the development of existing forests, funding will be provided for 110 km of new forest roads and for forest management initiatives which will improve the productivity of our forests while maintaining the highest environmental standards.”.

“Payments under the new reconstitution Scheme to help farmers affected by the winter storms of 2013 and 2014 will also commence in 2017,” he added.


Funding for capital investments in the commercial Horticulture sector has been increased to €5million in 2017. In addition, the Horticulture sector will have access to the €150m low interest cash flow support loan fund announced today, providing access to highly flexible loans for up to six years, for amounts up to €150,000, at an interest rate of 2.95%. Bord Bia is also investing in a market development programme which will assist companies dealing with currency and trading difficulties.

“I am keenly aware of the challenges that the horticulture sector is experiencing in the aftermath of the UK Referendum decision to exit the EU, particularly in light of recent fluctuations in currency. I am focused on working with the industry to meet these difficulties in the months and year ahead,” said Minister Doyle.

Organics €10 million
An allocation of €10m in funding in 2017 under the organic scheme will support farmers’ response to market demand for organically produced food.

Minister Doyle said, “I welcome the allocation of €10m for the Organic Farming Scheme, which reflects this Government's commitment to ongoing support of this sector. The new Organic Farming Scheme has been an unprecedented success and this allocation will support over 1,600 farmers who have opted to go organic, many of them converting for the first time.”

He added, “This is a growth sector for Ireland and further support is being provided through extensive on-farm and off-farm schemes, the latter concentrating on adding value through the development of processed organic products."

Bord na gCon

“I am also pleased to announce the intention to fulfil the commitment to the Horse and Greyhound Fund for 2017, which will increase expenditure to €16m next year for Bord na gCon. The sector is a very important contributor to the economy and provides employment in both rural and urban areas,” he said.

Finally, Minister Doyle welcomed the broader support for the Rural Development Programme, with an increase of spending to bring the programme to €601m in 2017 and in particular, the introduction of a new Animal Welfare Scheme for sheep worth €25m, honouring a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government.