asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware of the gradual reduction in the crops being allotted by the Irish Sugar Company to the Erin Foods factory in Mallow and the serious effect this is having on employment and overall earnings at that factory; and the steps he proposes to take to restore more work and a longer processing season there.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Mallow Factory.
I am aware that there has been a general reduction in the acreage of vegetables grown for all the Erin Foods factories of the Irish Sugar Company in recent years. This reduction has been necessary because the competitiveness of the company's dehydrated vegetables in the export market has been eroded due to the recent entrance of a number of producers from other countries into this market. In addition, there has been a general downturn in the world market in the demand for dehydrated vegetables.
The company's level of production must, of course, be based on the market demand for their products and the consequential cut-back in production has unfortunately led to a shortening of the annual vegetable campaign. The reduction has been spread as equitably as possible over all the company's food factories. The provision of more work and a longer processing season at the factories is dependent on an increase in the demand for their products.
On a technical point, I understand the responsibility for this company was transferred to the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.
Not formally as yet. It is in the process of being changed.