The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Andrew Doyle, has recently announced the opening of the Forestry Knowledge Transfer Group Scheme for 2020.
The launch is conditional, however, due to the current public health restrictions in place.
The reason for launching the scheme now is to allow organisers to secure participants and prepare accordingly for the commencement of meetings once guidelines allow.
Speaking on the announcement, Minister Doyle said he was pleased to announce the most recent scheme, following the success of previous schemes in 2018 and 2019.
“Over 600 forest owners participated in the Scheme last year all over the country. Results from 2018 and 2019 have shown that participants from these schemes have gained a lot of practical knowledge to better manage their forest and maximise the income from their holding.”
Doyle explained that the purpose of the scheme is to provide private forest owners with the knowledge they require to actively manage their own forest, mobilise their timber resources and secure an income from their crop.
All private forest owners can participate on the scheme, regardless of whether their forest is grant funded under the Forestry Programme or not.
The Minister’s Department also published a comprehensive review of the operation of the scheme in 2019, which analysed the effect that participation has on forestry decision-making by participants.
The results are very encouraging, according to the DAFM. The review showed that almost all participants have changed the way they manage their forested land as a result of the knowledge gained from the scheme.
How does it work?
The Department have invited forestry companies, consultants and producer groups to organise knowledge transfer groups (KTG). Once approved, organisers can invite forest owners to participate in the groups.
Each KTG can have a maximum of 20 participants and each person will have to attend 7 meeting or outdoor events in order to complete the programme. Participants of the 2018 or 2019 scheme will not be permitted to join in 2020.
Participants will be payed €70 per meeting attended, to a maximum sum of €490. The organiser of the KTG will receive a payment of €6,500 per group organised.
An assessment process will apply to ensure that only applications to organise a KTG that reach a minimum standard are considered.
The Minister added, “Forestry KTGs provide an ideal base for forest owners to get into contact and start cooperating to maximise scale. I encourage all participating in the scheme to continue working together either informally or as part of a producer group after having the scheme has ended.”
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