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Around 330 Women Farmers Sanctioned for TAMS Grant under WFCIS

Minister of State Pippa Hackett has informed the Dáil that a total of 333 applications for the TAMS 3 Women Farmer Capital Investment Scheme (WFCIS) have now been approved. The Department of Agriculture faced criticism in January when it was revealed that no farmers had yet received approval under the scheme. As of April 12, the Department had received a total of 867 applications, with Minister Hackett assuring further daily approvals. Sinn Féin’s Claire Kerrane inquired if the Minister would review the scheme’s eligibility criteria, citing concerns from stakeholders about its restrictiveness. Minister Hackett emphasized the need to prevent abuse of the scheme, ensuring that only primary individuals exercising long-term control over the farm are eligible. These criteria were established to mitigate potential misuse during the scheme’s development, as the Department was wary of dishonest applicants.

Records obtained by the Farming Independent reveal officials’ apprehension regarding the potential manipulation of circumstances, including the establishment of partnerships, joint entities, companies, and land transfers, to access financial assistance. Additionally, the Department expressed reservations about the self-declaration process for gender, considering measures such as requiring applicants to provide official identification like birth certificates, passports, or certificates of gender recognition. To counteract such manipulations, the Department opted to implement a reference year of 2022 for all applicants, effectively thwarting attempts by dishonest individuals to bypass the scheme’s regulations and objectives.

​Documents outline the objectives of a top-up for women farmers in a capital investment scheme, aiming to acknowledge women’s contributions to farming and encourage gender equality and participation. The Department emphasized that any attempt to circumvent the rules for gaining an advantage would result in exclusion from the scheme. In June 2023, the government introduced the Women Farmer Capital Investment Scheme (WFCIS) under TAMS 3, incentivizing women farmers to enhance their agricultural infrastructure and equipment. The scheme aims to promote gender equality, employment, growth, generational renewal, social inclusion, and local development in rural areas by supporting women’s involvement in farming.

The Women Farmer Capital Investment Scheme (WFCIS) provides grant aid at a rate of 60% up to a maximum of €90,000 per holding. Multiple applications per tranche are permitted, with a minimum eligible investment of €2,000 per application. Eligibility for the scheme extends to farmers aged over 18 and under 67 at the time of submitting the application form, identified as female in the department’s Corporate Customer Management (CCM) system.

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