Farm Ireland

Wednesday 24 January 2018

IFA slams 50pc proposed cut in agriculture budget

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

The IFA has hit out over the proposed cut in next year's capital budget for agriculture outlined in the National Recovery Plan.

The 50pc cut on the €299m allocation for this year was described as totally unacceptable in comparison to the average 8pc cut in other departments.

IFA president John Bryan said that the Minister for Agriculture needed to secure adequate funding for next year to ensure the continuation of vital investment programmes in the agri-food sector.

"Growth in agriculture and the agri-food sector is contributing to our economic recovery, with the potential to further deliver economic growth, if properly supported," he said.

"It is incredible that the Government could even consider slashing the capital budget in a growth sector."

A Department of Agriculture statement said that the capital allocation was decided in the context of the programme of cuts contained in the National Recovery Plan.

"There is sufficient capital funding to meet demands in the form of scheme payments in 2011. Decisions on the allocation of the €150m capital allocation for 2012 will be decided in the context of the preparation of the 2012 estimate for the Department over the coming months," said the statement.

Meanwhile, the latest figures show that the current and capital spend in the Department of Agriculture is €125m behind projections from the start of the year.

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The Department said that the discrepancy was not due to scheme payments being delayed.

It said the €125m figure arose from an "earlier than expected receipt" of €44m from the EU, combined with a lag in gross expenditure of €81m.

"In most cases, the variation will be considerably reduced or eliminated as the year progresses," a Department statement claimed.

"It is premature to speculate on any possible savings at year end.

"The original forecast of monthly expenditure is prepared at the beginning of the year, which is difficult to forecast accurately and some variation is normal."

Darragh McCullough

Indo Farming