Written Answers. - Pig Exports.

542.

asked the Minister for Agriculture the total value of all pig exports, including pig meat, from this country annually since 1980; and if he will make a statement on the pig export situation.

The following table gives information on exports of pig and pigmeat as requested:

Pig and Pigmeat Exports 1980-1983

Year

Total Value

£m

1980

54.6

1981

61.0

1982

72.9

1983

88.2

The development of the Japanese market, which is now an important outlet for high value Irish pork cuts, has caused a shift away from our traditional reliance on the UK bacon market. In 1983 — a record year for our pork exports to Japan — the value of such exports amounted to almost £29 million compared to a value of £20 million for bacon exports to the UK. Exports of live pigs are mainly to Northern Ireland.

543.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will outline in detail the total number of breeding pigs exported annually from this country in each year since 1980; the countries to which these pigs were exported; the total value of these exports; and if he will make a statement on the pig breeding situation in the country.

The following table gives information on exports of breeding pigs as requested:

Exports of Breeding Pigs 1980-1983

Year

No.

£

Destination

1980

12

690

Northern Ireland

1981

107

15,359

Northern Ireland

U.S.A.

1982

163

13,770

Northern Ireland

1983

240

20,757

Northern Ireland

My Department operate a national pig breed improvement programme in co-operation with pedigree pig breeders participating in the Accredited Pig Herd Scheme. In addition, a number of commercial pig breeding companies operate a hybrid pig breeding programme.

The Pig Breeding Advisory Committee, which is representative of the industry, was reconvened in 1983. It is currently examining the pig breeding improvement programme.