Written Answers. - Non-Food Crop Cultivation.

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

70 Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the number of acres under non-food crop cultivation; the proposals, if any, he has to further increase the acreage under such cultivation and to increase the funding provided for research into such cultivation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1853/96]

The amount of set-aside land under non-food crop cultivation, other than forestry, is 844 hectares. I am anxious to encourage the use of non-food farm crops to maximise the potential of our natural resources and enhance the rural economy.

The funding for Teagasc includes resources for advisory, training and research services. It is a matter for the body itself to deploy the available resources between these services, and to formulate the specific research programmes and projects for funding.

Recent work in Teagasc has concentrated on examining the potential of liquid biofuels, particularly bio-diesel from plant oils and bio-ethanol from a range of crops, including wheat, sugar beet and grass.