Written Answers. - Departmental Bodies.
Mr. J. Mitchell
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development
the different working groups, review groups, expert groups, commissions, interdepartmental working groups and various fora established by him since entering office in 1997.
Mr. J. Mitchell
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development
the different reports commissioned and published by him since the Government entered office in 1997.
I propose to take Questions Nos. 171 and 172 together.
The sheepmeat forum was established in February 1998. Its terms of reference were to evaluate the future direction of the sheepmeat sector and to assess how the industry can address existing constraints and future challenges. The forum issued its report and recommendations in October 1999.
The food industry development group was established in 1998 for the purpose of formulating an action plan for the food industry in the context of a strategic approach to the future use of national and Structural Funds for the industry. The group issued its report in December 1998.
The beef task force was established in November 1998 in order to devise an action plan for the development of the beef industry covering the whole sector from primary production through to processing and marketing with a view to enabling the sector to overcome the obstacles impeding its development and to generate better returns from the markets. The task force issued its report and recommendations in June 1999.
The Agenda 2000 consultative groups were consultative groups involving representatives of various organisations which were set up in 1999 in a number of sectors, including milk, beef and cereals in advance of the Agenda 2000 negotiations. The agri-food 2010 committee was estab lished in June 1999 with the purpose of proposing a strategy for the development of Irish agriculture and food over the next decade. It reported in March 2000 and the Government's response was published in the agri-food 2010 action plan in August 2000.
The monitoring committee on the implementation of the beef task force report was set up on the recommendation of the beef task force committee in August 1999. It involves producer, processor and State agency representatives. Its role is to monitor the implementation of the major recommendations of the report of the task force.
The task force on agricultural education and training was established in November 1999 to review the training needs of agriculture in the context of a changing economic and social environment and to make recommendations, where appropriate, to address those needs. The report of the task force was published in July 2000.
The advisory committee on the role of women in agriculture was established in November 1999 and published its report in September 2000, containing recommendations to develop the role of women in agriculture.
The monitoring committee of the sheepmeat forum was established in December 1999. Its terms of reference were to progress and monitor implementation of the recommendations contained in the sheepmeat forum report. The committee reported in July 2001.
The White Paper on rural development, Ensuring the Future: A Strategy for Rural Development, was published in August 2000 and sets out a vision and a framework for the development of rural communities.
The CAP Rural Development Plan 2000-2006 was published in November 2000 and a monitoring committee was established to oversee the operation of the plan.
The technical committee on meat inspection fees, which included representatives of the beef processing industry and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, was set up in January 2000 to examine practical issues relating to the implementation of the full recovery of the cost of the meat inspection service. The committee concluded its work and the chairman reported in June 2000.
The food quality assurance schemes review group was established in February 2000 to review the operation of current schemes and to make recommendations as to how greater coherence and clarity might be brought to the area of quality assurance. The group issued its report in December 2000.
The Food Agency Co-operation Council was established in March 2000 to promote the fullest possible practical co-operation between the various State agencies involved in the food sector.
On foot of an agreement with the EU Commission in 1998 on the introduction of supplementary measure A of the rural environmental protection scheme, my Department, together with the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, has commissioned the preparation of framework plans to determine the appropriate level of stocking on all commonages. This exercise, which is being carried out by teams of agriculturalists and ecologists under the joint direction of the two Departments, is now nearing completion.
The protocol monitoring committee was established in December 2000 to monitor progress on the implementation of the protocol on direct payments to farmers.
In 2000, an organic development committee was established on foot of a recommendation in the agri-food 2010 report, with the following terms of reference: "To recommend a coherent development strategy to achieve expansion in production, processing and marketing of Irish organic produce and to secure an increase of the growing national and export markets, and to consider the broad actions necessary for the most advantageous long-term future development of the Irish organic sector while protecting its integrity". I expect to receive the committee's report early in 2002.
The national anti-poverty strategy working group on rural poverty was established in January 2001 to aim to provide more specific and measurable targets on rural poverty and to provide for more up to date information on consistent rural poverty.
The interdepartmental working group on PRSI for farm spouses was established in April 2001 and reported its findings in November 2001.
The National Rural Development Forum was established in May 2001. The purpose of this committee is to debate current issues relating to rural development; to review the impact of current programmes on rural development; and to identify and recommend suitable policy responses to rural development problems.
The Bord Fáilte rural tourism research report was commissioned by Bord Fáilte on behalf of my Department in June 2001 in the context of developing a new rural tourism policy.
The monitoring committee for the EU Leader+ initiative for rural development held its first meeting on 27 September 2001 with the aim of monitoring Leader+ and its tasks.
My Department has published the following non-commissioned reports: 1997 Annual Review and Outlook; Statement of Strategy 1998-2001 in May 1998; 1998 Annual Review and Outlook; 1999/2000 Annual Review and Outlook; First Report on the Implementation of the Statement of Strategy – August 1999; 1999 Annual Report of the Minister – July 2000; Agri-Food 2010 Plan of Action – August 2000; 2000/2001 Annual Review and Outlook; Statement of Strategy 2001-2004 – December 2001; and 2000 Annual Report of the Minister – July 2001.