06 Mar, 2024

Empowering women farmers: understanding Tams III Women Farmer Capital Investment Scheme (WFCIS)

The Women Farmers’ Capital Investment Scheme (WFCIS) is a programme that helps women in agriculture by providing financial support to upgrade their agricultural buildings and equipment.

The scheme is part of the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS I I) and opened for applications on June 21, 2023.

Purpose and objectives:

The main goal of WFCIS is to help women-run agricultural businesses by reducing the capital costs associated with establishing and enhancing their enterprises. This programme aims to promote gender equality, create employment opportunities, encourage generational renewal, foster social inclusion, and contribute to local development in rural areas. Additionally, the scheme seeks to enhance the competitiveness of women-led agricultural businesses, ultimately improving overall agricultural incomes.

Qualification criteria:

To be eligible for the WFCIS, applicants must meet specific criteria.

  • Prospective beneficiaries must be female farmers aged between 18 and 67 years at the time of application.

  • They should own or hold a lease on the proposed development site, possess a minimum of 5 hectares under the Basic Income Support for Sustainability Scheme (BISS) or equivalent, and meet crop or production unit requirements for specific investments like tillage.

  • Importantly, a woman farmer can qualify for only one holding or entity under this scheme.

  • Must be identified as a female on DAFM’s Corporate Customer Management System (CCM).

Reference year 2022

  • The applicant must be named on a herd number for the holding which has made an application in 2022 BPS scheme year – the “reference year” – either as an individual, RFP or Ltd.

  • If the reference year requirements are NOT met, applicants must have the required educational requirements – Green Cert or equivalent. This condition must be met either on date of application or within 36 months for the date of issue of DAFM approval.

Rate of payment:

  • The grant aid under WFCIS is set at a rate of 60%, with a maximum limit of €90,000 per holding.

  • While multiple applications are allowed per tranche, each must have a minimum eligible investment of €2,000.

  • Applicants who secure approval for the maximum amount of €90,000 cannot apply for grants under other TAMS II schemes, except for the Low Emission Slurry Spreading (LESS) Equipment Scheme.

  • For joint applications by two or more eligible partners, the maximum grant increases to €160,000, providing added support for collaborative initiatives in women-led agricultural enterprises.

Additional Considerations:

Grant aid per investment item will be calculated based on the lowest of the following amounts:

  1. The Department’s Reference Costings applicable at the date of approval;

  2. The total of eligible invoices marked “paid,” net of VAT, and costs of the applicant’s own contribution in terms of labour and machinery, deemed eligible by the Department;

  3. The cost of the investment proposed by the applicant, subject to reasonability and potential verification before ranking and selection.

The Women Farmers’ Capital Investment Scheme is a pivotal component of TAMS III, actively contributing to the empowerment and advancement of women in agriculture. By providing substantial financial support for infrastructure development, the scheme boosts the efficiency and competitiveness of women-led farms. It contributes significantly to the broader goals of rural development and sustainability. Women farmers are encouraged to explore the opportunities offered by WFCIS to realise their agricultural aspirations and drive positive change in their communities.

If you’re interested in applying for the Women Farmers’ Capital Investment Scheme, here’s a checklist to help you get started:

  • Review the list of eligible investments that may be suitable for your farm

  • Check eligibility criteria

  • Review the marking sheet on the Department of Agriculture website

  • Gather necessary documentation – certified copies of original educational certificates acceptable

  • Evidence of title is required for participation in this scheme (lands owned, lands leased, or entailed estate)

  • Submit application

This article was first published in our 2024 Irish Farm Report.