The Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, last week announced her commitment to extend a number of the current European Innovation Partnership (EIP) projects which are due to finish in 2021.

Commenting on the extension, Minister Hackett said: “The next CAP is going to take a lot of the targeted approach from these EIPs and apply them at scale. Before we get there though I want to make sure the current EIPs can finish out their work, as a lot of effort has been put into, for example, forming commonage groups, restoring habitats and eradicating invasive species.

“A break in this chain would be detrimental for the landscape, biodiversity and farmers committed to these projects. My Department will be working now with the relevant schemes to gauge their interest in extending their work and on how best to implement it”.

The Minister made the announcement as part of an EIP-AGRI workshop held last week at the Burren Winterage School in Kinvara, Co Galway.

The workshop was focused on reviewing the lessons learned from the locally led schemes.

The Minister said: “The EIPs have been a great success story here in Ireland. We saw there was a need for another way of delivering schemes on a more targeted basis and the results have been excellent.

“We now have 57 locally-led schemes run by my Department from small-scale community biodiversity projects to the much larger Hen Harrier project. All are making a huge contribution to improving our environment which is only possible due to the wonderful commitment of the farmers and project teams involved in these EIPs.”

Brendan Dunford from the Burren Beo Trust commented: “The Winterage festival is a lovely coming together of farmers, scientists, and anyone with an interest in sustainable farming, to share ideas and inspiration.

“The gathering of EIP-AGRI projects on Friday is a chance to celebrate the impact of this rich range of innovative projects across Ireland and to harvest learnings from them to help inform the new CAP Strategic Plan. Farmers [involved] are shaping a really positive new narrative around farming and the environment.”