Third tranche of Farm Modernisation Programme worth £5.5million
Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA today announced that tranche three of the Farm Modernisation Programme (FMP) will be worth £5.5million.
The FMP provides financial support towards a list of eligible modernising items of plant, machinery and equipment across the range of farming sectors. By March 2012 it is expected that approximately £8.5million of funding will have been paid to over 2,900 farm businesses under the previous two tranches of the programme.
The Minister made the FMP announcement as she updated the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on her Department’s Programme for Government commitments. She said: “This scheme has proved to be extremely popular and beneficial to the farming community and I know that news of the third tranche has been much anticipated. I have recently received approval from the European Commission to make changes to the Rural Development Programme to allow me to make available funding for a third tranche of the scheme. The total funding for this tranche is £5.5million and this is an additional £1.4million to what was originally planned. This will allow more farmers to benefit from the scheme and will provide significant support and a much needed boost to farmers and the wider economy in the current difficult economic climate.”
Under the NI Act 1998, DARD is required to carry out its functions while having due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity between Section 75 groups. An Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) is a thorough and systematic analysis of a policy in order to determine the extent of differential impact upon the relevant groups. Launching the EQIA public consultation of the Farm Modernisation Programme, the Minister said: “I am keen that the scheme should open as soon as possible however it is important that I adhere to my Department’s Equality Scheme. That is why I am pleased to be able to announce today the opening of a consultation period on the scheme criteria and associated equality impacts.”
The Equality Impact Assessment consultation will run from 16 February until 18 April 2012 and it is anticipated that the scheme will open as soon as possible following the consultation and administrative preparations.