The budget for the Protein Aid Scheme is set to remain at €3m for the coming season.
According to the Department of Agriculture: “The terms and conditions for the 2021 Protein Aid Scheme are currently being finalised.”
The budget under the scheme is expected to increase in 2022.
If the Department is serious about increasing the area planted to protein crops, the increase in budget will need to come as soon as possible. In the recent publication of the Ag Climatise report the Department outlined potential to increase the area planted to beans to 40,000ha.
Since the introduction of the scheme in 2015, the area under protein crops has increased by just over 10,000ha
In 2020, 13,750ha of protein crops were planted by approximately 1,000 farmers and the payment finished at €215/ha. This is one of the lowest payments given out in the scheme as the area planted reached its peak.
Since the introduction of the scheme in 2015, the area under protein crops has increased by just over 10,000ha and if the Department is to stand by its commitment to increasing levels of homegrown protein, the budget needs to see a dramatic increase.
At present, an increase in area in 2021 will see the payment per hectare decrease further and the incentive to plant and the viability of the crop is significantly reduced.