Island farms receive a boost
Island communities are to get special payments for the first time in the new Rural Development budget.
While the Department of Agriculture says that it is still "examining mechanisms to support island farming," its draft consultation paper says that the support is warranted because of island communities' dependence on agriculture, "both in terms of economic activity and the role that agriculture plays in the preservation of landscapes and ecosystems.
"Island agriculture usually differs from intensive farming systems and faces a number of constraints such as isolation, high infrastructure and transport costs, land quality and income issues," it adds.
€2,500 PER NEW PARTNERSHIP
A fund of €1m is to be made available for new farm partnerships, with a maximum payment of €2,500 per partnership.
The Department quotes the Food Harvest 2020 report which stated that "any remaining obstacles to partnership formation or other new models of farming should be removed" as its rationale for targeting support for the administrative and legal costs incurred when a new collaborative farming arrangement is being set up.
Research from Teagasc shows that collaborative farming arrangements have a number of benefits, including increased income through additional scale, new ways to access underused land, improved skillsets, and making one-man operations more sociable.
FUND SET UP FOR ARTISAN SECTOR