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Minister Smith confirms issue of Farm Waste Management Scheme Interest Payments

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith, today confirmed that his Department has processed interest payments to over 17,000 farmers whose grant payments were partially deferred under the Farm Waste Management Scheme.

In addition to those whose grants were paid on a phased basis, over 17,000 participants in the scheme received the full grant payment following the completion of the work.

Minister Smith confirmed that the interest rate to be used for the purposes of this payment will be 3.2 per cent and the cumulative value of the interest payments will amount to some €11.7 million. Mr Smith said that he was satisfied that "the rate of interest being paid is the appropriate rate and was calculated on the basis of the prevailing interest rate at the time that the grant payments were deferred, to which a premium was added." 

Minister Smith said that he was "very pleased to deliver on the commitment to finalise the remaining element of the payments due under this Scheme, which has been the most successful on-farm investment scheme in the history of the State. With total expenditure under the Scheme having exceeded €1.2 billion, totally funded by the Exchequer, farm buildings on over 34,000 Irish farms have now been brought entirely up-to-date with consequent advantages in regard to both competitiveness and the environment which will be realised for many years to come.

This record level of investment in developing the country's on-farm infrastructure is necessary for a modern, sustainable agri-food sector. It will allow us to compete and expand on the basis of quality, productivity and efficiency and to further ensure that we continue to meet the needs of consumers and society generally, which is entirely consistent with the targets of Food Harvest 2020." 

Minister Smith described the scheme as "an outstanding success and, with a record level of investment by the Government, is an enormous vote of confidence in Ireland's most indigenous sector." Mr Smith also noted that "at a time of unprecedented pressure on the public finances, the level of grant payments under the scheme exceeded €1.2 billion."

Date Released: 09 February 2011