The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, announced on the 31st of October that advance payments are to commence under the 2023 Eco-Scheme. These payments will be worth almost €184 million and will be paid to 106,137 farmers.
The Eco-Scheme is a new scheme introduced this year by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as part of the CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027. This voluntary annual scheme is open to all active farmers and qualification for payment requires farmers to undertake specific agricultural practices on their farms. Payments are made on an annual basis for all eligible hectares covered by the commitments undertaken. The payment rate is set at €67 per eligible hectare.
The structure of the Eco-Scheme allows farmers to opt in or out each year. The chosen agricultural practices can also be changed on a yearly basis at the farmers discretion. Farmers can apply each year for the Eco-Scheme at the same time as their application for the Basic Income Support Scheme (BISS).
The aim of the Eco-Scheme is to reward farmers, from all farming sectors with different levels of intensity, for undertaking actions that are beneficial to the climate, environment, water quality and biodiversity. It is for this reason that the Eco-Scheme payments are considered by the Minister to be a vital support for farmers who are delivering environmental and biodiversity benefits. This year, the Eco-Scheme advance payments are to commence at a rate of 70% with payments appearing in farmers’ bank accounts in early November. It is believed that 89% of eligible Eco-scheme applicants will receive an advanced Eco-scheme payment.
Payments under the 2023 Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) and the 2023 Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS), have also commenced in recent weeks. It is expected that payments will take between 3 and 5 days to appear in farmers’ bank accounts.
For more information, visit www.gov.ie/cap