Food Exports

Questions (232)

Tom Fleming

Question:

232. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress that has been made in the export of beef, lamb, pig meat and dairy products since the Government came into office; the number of new jobs that have been created during this period; the targets that have been set for the next two years; the new markets that have been identified; the number of new jobs he hopes to create in this area during the next 24 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35631/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Food Harvest 2020 sets a target of €12 billion in total food and drink exports by 2020. The value of exports is of course a function of supply and demand and other factors, but despite difficult economic conditions in the market place, Irish agrifood exports are continuing to perform strongly. The interim export target for 2015 is €10 billion and the fact that the value of agrifood and drink exports exceeded €9 billion for the first time ever in 2012 marks good progress so far.

Since March 2011 when I took office as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine there has been significant progress in meeting the targets in each sector. The details of the exports achieved since 2011 are set out in the following table:

Irish Meat and Dairy exports 2010-2012

Value: €m

-

-

Category

2011

2012

Dairy

2,715

2,620

Beef

1,860

1,900

Pigmeat

421

507

Sheepmeat

197

212

Grand Total

5,194

5,239

Source: CSO

In 2012, the value of Irish beef exports showed an increase of €40 million over the 2011 figure, reflecting improved returns from export markets. Over the same period the value of sheepmeat exports increased by approximately €15 million, with modest growth recorded in exports to our main markets in France and the United Kingdom and higher growth was recorded on exports to emerging markets in Northern Europe (including Scandinavia).

Exports of Irish pigmeat are estimated to have increased by 12,000 tonnes (carcass weight equivalent) in 2012, as compared with 2011. The value of Irish pigmeat exports increased by an estimated €86 million.

Mixed trends were evident in key export destinations for dairy products during 2012. Exports to the United Kingdom performed strongly and increased by more than 5% to €960 million or 36% of total trade. The strongest performing categories were cheese, infant food and spreads. While demand from other EU markets weakened somewhat because of economic conditions, this was partially counterbalanced by an increase in the value of exports to international markets which are estimated to have reached more than €1 billion for the first time in 2012. These international markets provide dramatic growth potential into the future.

In so far as exports to third country markets have been concerned, I have been very active in developing relationships in new and expanding markets in order to raise the profile of Ireland and build the kind of confidence in Irish production and control systems that provide a platform for long-term trading relationships in the future. Since my appointment I have lead trade and political missions to China, the US and Algeria, and my Department continues to engage on market access issues with many other third countries. Ireland already has access for dairy products to markets worldwide and exports such products to over eighty countries, but I am working to increase the profile of the sector in potential growth markets.

In addition, since my appointment, there have been a number of notable successes in reaching agreement with authorities in Singapore, Egypt, Iran and the GCC Countries which allow for the export of Irish beef, with Singapore, South Africa, UAE, Canada and the Russian Federation-Customs Union for the export of Irish sheepmeat and with Australia and Serbia for the export of Irish pork. There is strong demand for meat globally and I remain focused on enabling Irish exporters to take advantage of the opportunities that arise.

Regarding employment, the function of Government is of course to create the economic conditions which will facilitate and encourage job creation. In relation to the agri food sector, the work being done with industry and the various Government Departments and State agencies to implement actions necessary to deliver on the vision outlined in Food Harvest 2020, together with the Government macroeconomic policy, is helping to make Ireland a more competitive place to do business and create the conditions necessary for job creation. The Forfás Annual Employment Survey indicates that since 2009, a total of 3,339 net new direct jobs were created in the food manufacturing sector and of course this kind of development will create spin off opportunities in the sub-supply, transport, sales and other areas.

As regards the future, in 2012 food client investments, supported by Enterprise Ireland, committed to more than 1,500 new jobs being created within three years. In 2013 to date Enterprise Ireland investments in food companies have resulted in new jobs commitments in excess of 500 and it is hoped that this level of new jobs commitments can be sustained over the coming years to contribute to the Government’s overall job creation targets. Of course investment in the agrifood sector has a larger economic multiplier than that in other manufacturing industry because many of the inputs are indigenous.

I am confident that Ireland is taking the steps necessary to avail of the opportunities presented by expanding global demand for food and am committed to ensuring that the contribution of the agrifood sector to the economy, exports and employment is maximised.

Common Agricultural Policy Reform

Questions (233, 234)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

233. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine with reference to the recent changes to the Common Agricultural Policy, if horticulture as a sector of agriculture under the Act have admittance to the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35632/13]

View answer

Timmy Dooley

Question:

234. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will indicate when the horticultural industry can avail of the Common Agricultural Policy scheme; when applications will be open; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35633/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 233 and 234 together.

One of the main features of the CAP reform package, on which political agreement was reached last month, is the flexibility provided to Member States to take individual decisions in regard to implementation of the common policy. In that regard, the general rule for allocation of payment entitlements under the new regime is that the farmer must apply for such allocation in 2015 and must have submitted an admissible aid application in respect of 2013. Traditionally the horticulture sector would not have been in receipt of direct payments and would be ruled out by the 2013 tie-back rule. However, the package agreed provides an option to allocate payment entitlements to the horticulture sector even if the farmers in question did not submit an admissible aid application in 2013.

This is one of many options in the reform package on which we will have to take a decision whether to apply the provision in Ireland. I will shortly engage in a consultation process with stakeholders to examine the various options available before taking a final decision on this and all of the other options open to us.

Aquaculture Licences Applications

Questions (235)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

235. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on a proposal made by him (details supplied) on the introduction of large scale offshore salmon farms off the west coast; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35637/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

An application by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) for an aquaculture licence for the cultivation of finfish near Inis Oirr in Galway Bay was received by my Department last year. The application and its accompanying Environmental Impact Statement are being considered under the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act and the 1933 Foreshore Act.

A determination in respect of the application will be made as soon as possible following completion of the necessary assessment process. This assessment process will take full account of all national and EU legislative requirements and will reflect the full engineering, scientific, environmental, legal and public policy aspects of the application.

As the application is under active consideration as part of the statutory process it would not be appropriate for me to comment further at this time.

European Council Meetings

Questions (236)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

236. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will provide an update on the conclusions of the first Agriculture and Fisheries Council Agri-Fish during the Lithuanian EU Presidency that took place on 15 July 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35691/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I attended the first meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council under the Lithuanian presidency which took place on 15 July 2013.

At the commencement of the meeting, Lithuania announced its priorities for the upcoming six months. In agriculture, these include finalisation of the legal texts of the CAP reform package, completion of negotiations on transitional arrangements and examination of new proposals from the Commission on fruit and vegetables and on promotion measures for agricultural products. As to fisheries, the Presidency will prioritise achieving inter-institutional agreement on the European Maritime and Fisheries fund and on agreeing the annual TACs and quotas for fisheries for 2014. As regards the sanitary and phyto-sanitary areas, the Presidency will seek substantial progress on discussions on the 5-part package with particular emphasis on concluding the negotiations on the expenditure element of the package.

The meeting continued with a report on the current state of play in the CAP reform negotiations, notably regarding the European Parliament’s position on the MFF aspects of the agreement. The Presidency made it clear that it has no intention of going beyond the mandate given by the Council in June.

Moving to fisheries, the Presidency secured a Council position on the proposed Regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries fund and held a first discussion on the fishing opportunities for 2014.

A number of items were raised under other business, most notable being a request sponsored by Ireland, UK, France and Spain for strong and decisive action to be taken against Iceland and the Faroe Islands in relation to unsustainable fishing practices in the north east Atlantic. Other items raised included:

- A request by Cyprus for assistance in respect of an outbreak of Newcastle disease;

- A request from Hungary, with support from a number of Member States, for concerted action to be taken to avoid food waste;

- Information from the Commission concerning follow-up to the mislabelling of beef issue and actions being taken to address food fraud;

- A request from Netherlands for action to be taken at EU level in respect of the insecticide Fipronil; and

- A request, also from the Netherlands, for a study on labelling of meat from animals slaughtered without stunning.

Proposed Legislation

Questions (237)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

237. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will consider a proposal (details supplied) regarding the Control of Dogs (Amendment) Bill 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35768/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department is currently examining submissions received in respect of the dog microchipping initiative that I announced in the course of the passage of the Animal Health and Welfare Act through the Oireachtas earlier this summer. As part of this process, my Department will be glad to examine the draft Bill that you have kindly forwarded. However, it should be noted that the issue of dog liscensing is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government.

Common Agricultural Policy Reform

Questions (238, 239)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

238. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of money that would be available for redistribution, under the single farm payment scheme Common Agricultural Policy reform, if the maximum payment for the single farm payment was set at €400 per hectare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35772/13]

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Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

239. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of money that would be available for redistribution, under the single farm payment scheme Common Agricultural Policy reform, if the maximum payment for the single farm payment was set at €450 per hectare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35773/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 238 and 239 together.

The CAP reform agreement on 26 June provided two options for Member States in relation to the internal convergence of direct payments: either a flat rate per hectare payment (the Commission’s proposal) or partial convergence (Irish model). Under partial convergence, farmers with payments below 90% of the national average payment per hectare will have their payments raised by at least one third of the difference between their current payment and 90% of the national average by 2019, with a minimum payment of 60% of the national average per hectare by 2019. This is financed by reductions to payments above the national average payment per hectare. Member States have flexibility as to how payment reductions are applied to those above the average, provided this is done on the basis of objective and non-discriminative criteria to be determined by Member States. Member States may also apply an optional maximum 30% loss on convergence in 2019 when compared with the unit value established in 2015

Table 1 below shows the effects of partial convergence with a minimum payment of 60% of national average, resulting in a transfer of €103m from convergence. However, the following caveats should be noted in relation to this table:

a) This analysis is based on 2010 SPS payments, and looks at the effect of convergence alone, rather than taking account of other adjustments to payments. It represents the position when the reform is fully implemented in 2019, without taking these other adjustments into account. This approach has been adopted to isolate the impact of various convergence options so that they can be assessed without being conflated with other necessary adjustments which are explained below.

b) Total 2010 payments of €1,250m, on which the table is based, have already been reduced to €1,230m in 2012 (due to an increase in the rate of modulation). Payments made in October 2013 will be further adjusted to respect the ceiling for 2014 agreed as part of the MFF negotiations (€1,217m). The ceiling for the following years is set as follows:

Budget/ Financial Year

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Direct payments €m

1,217

1,215

1,213

1,212

1,211

1,211

1,211

The ceiling cuts arising from the MFF will therefore be in place by the end of this year, in advance of the other changes arising from CAP reform.

c) The following adjustments will also need to be made to the total ceiling before convergence is calculated:

- Young farmer scheme – up to 2% of national ceiling

- National reserve – up to 3% of basic payment ceiling

- Crisis reserve – 1% of national ceiling (repaid if unused).

Note that funds for young farmers and the national reserve will directly benefit Irish farmers, specifically young farmers and new entrants. The crisis reserve will apply to the EU as a whole, with Irish farmers as likely to benefit as those in other Member States.

d) If a Member State opts to implement additional schemes such as the Redistributive Payment or Voluntary Coupled support, these amounts would also be deducted from the national ceiling before the convergence calculation is applied, i.e. convergence is calculated on the basic payment scheme with consequential impact on the greening payment.

e) The convergence calculation will in practice be calculated using the revised ceilings, and taking account of the adjustments listed above. Therefore the national average per hectare and the minimum payment of 60% of national average for the convergence calculation will be adjusted accordingly and will be different from those in Table 1.

f) Table 1 is prepared on the assumption that convergence reductions are applied proportionately; in fact, as stated above, the June agreement gives Member States flexibility in how the convergence reduction is applied to farmers above the national average.

Table 2 summarises the estimated effect of adding a maximum payment per hectare of €400 or €450 to the calculations in Table 1:

A maximum rate per hectare of €400 in 2019 would have roughly the following effects:

- Around 7,600 farmers (those currently above €500/ha) would be affected.

- It would raise additional savings of €32 million in addition to the proportional reductions already applied to these farmers; presumably these savings could be used to adjust the proportional reduction applied to the remaining farmers above the national average.

- The percentage reductions applied to farmers in the highest payment categories would be increased considerably by adding a maximum payment per hectare.

A maximum rate per hectare of €450 in 2019 would have roughly the following effects:

- Almost 5,000 farmers (those currently above €550/ha) would be affected.

- It would raise additional savings of €17 million in addition to the proportional reductions already applied to these farmers.

Table 1: Partial convergence with a minimum payment of 60% of national average, based on 2010 payments database

Payment per ha Category, 2010 SPS database €

No of farms

Total Area (ha)

2010 SPS Payment €m

Average payment per ha 2010 €

Average Stocking Density per ha

Average farm size (ha)

CAP Reform Pmt

Gain/Loss €m

% Gain/Loss

Avg payt per ha

0 payment, some area

76

3,120

0.0

0

-

41

0.5

+0.5

-

163

0 to 20

1,991

69,640

0.8

11

0.35

35

11.4

+10.6

+1342%

163

20 to 50

4,204

181,557

6.6

36

0.31

43

29.6

+23.1

+350%

163

50 to 100

10,462

399,947

30.1

75

0.45

38

65.3

+35.1

+117%

163

100 to 150

13,137

426,654

53.5

125

0.71

32

71.9

+18.4

+34%

168

150 to 200

15,400

495,753

87.1

176

0.99

32

98.5

+11.4

+13%

199

200 to 244.87

15,109

510,293

113.6

223

1.23

34

117.4

+3.8

+3%

230

<90% of nat avg

60,379

2,086,964

291.7

140

0.80

35

394.6

+102.9

+35%

189

244.87 to 272.07 (90% to 100% of nat avg)

9,230

329,342

85.1

259

1.39

36

85.1

-

-

259

272.02 to 300

9,176

337,772

96.6

286

1.48

37

94.9

-1.7

-2%

281

300 to 350

14,729

577,358

187.3

324

1.60

39

176.2

-11.1

-6%

305

350 to 400

10,992

448,659

167.7

374

1.72

41

150.9

-16.8

-10%

336

400 to 450

6,814

294,550

124.7

423

1.79

43

108.3

-16.4

-13%

368

450 to500

4,124

179,638

85.0

473

1.81

44

71.7

-13.3

-16%

399

500 to 550

2,692

119,842

62.6

523

1.81

45

51.6

-11.0

-18%

431

550 to 600

1,681

77,614

44.5

573

1.81

46

35.9

-8.6

-19%

463

600 to 650

1,070

48,626

30.3

623

1.82

45

24.0

-6.3

-21%

494

650 to 700

697

31,563

21.3

674

1.89

45

16.6

-4.7

-22%

526

700 to 750

416

16,752

12.1

723

1.75

40

9.3

-2.8

-23%

558

750 to 800

356

16,440

12.7

773

1.89

46

9.7

-3.0

-24%

589

800 to 850

208

9,863

8.1

823

1.90

47

6.1

-2.0

-25%

621

850 to 900

140

6,480

5.6

871

1.85

46

4.2

-1.4

-25%

651

900 to 950

77

2,986

2.8

925

1.74

39

2.0

-0.7

-26%

685

950 to 1,000

78

3,045

3.0

974

1.65

39

2.2

-0.8

-26%

716

1,000+

221

7,620

9.0

1180

1.92

34

6.5

-2.5

-28%

847

>100% of nat avg

53,471

2,178,807

873.4

401

1.68

41

770.3

-103.1

-12%

354

TOTAL

123,080

4,595,114

1,250.2

272

1.24

37

1250.0

-0.2

-0%

272

Table 2: Estimated additional effect of imposing a maximum rate per hectare of €400 or €450

Max €400/ha

Payment per ha Category, 2010 SPS database €

No of farms

PROPORTIONAL REDUCTION €m

APPLY MAX PAYMENT OF €400/HA, €m

PROPORTIONAL REDUCTION PLUS MAX RATE PER HA, €m

% LOSS

AVG PAYT PER HA

500 to 550

2,692

-11.0

-3.7

-14.7

-23.5%

400

550 to 600

1,681

-8.6

-4.9

-13.5

-30.2%

400

600 to 650

1,070

-6.3

-4.6

-10.8

-35.8%

400

650 to 700

697

-4.7

-4.0

-8.6

-40.6%

400

700 to 750

416

-2.8

-2.6

-5.4

-44.7%

400

750 to 800

356

-3.0

-3.1

-6.1

-48.2%

400

800 to 850

208

-2.0

-2.2

-4.2

-51.4%

400

850 to 900

140

-1.4

-1.6

-3.1

-54.1%

400

900 to 950

77

-0.7

-0.9

-1.6

-56.7%

400

950 to 1,000

78

-0.8

-1.0

-1.7

-58.9%

400

1,000+

221

-2.5

-3.4

-5.9

-66.1%

400

TOTAL

7,636

-31.9

Max €450/ha

Payment per ha Category, 2010 SPS database €

No of farms

PROPORTIONAL REDUCTION €m

APPLY MAX PAYMENT OF €400/HA, €m

PROPORTIONAL REDUCTION PLUS MAX RATE PER HA, €m

% LOSS

AVG PAYT PER HA

550 to 600

1,681

-8.6

-1.0

-9.6

-21.5%

450

600 to 650

1,070

-6.3

-2.1

-8.4

-27.8%

450

650 to 700

697

-4.7

-2.4

-7.1

-33.2%

450

700 to 750

416

-2.8

-1.8

-4.6

-37.8%

450

750 to 800

356

-3.0

-2.3

-5.3

-41.8%

450

800 to 850

208

-2.0

-1.7

-3.7

-45.3%

450

850 to 900

140

-1.4

-1.3

-2.7

-48.3%

450

900 to 950

77

-0.7

-0.7

-1.4

-51.3%

450

950 to 1,000

78

-0.8

-0.8

-1.6

-53.8%

450

1,000+

221

-2.5

-3.0

-5.6

-61.9%

450

TOTAL

4,944

-17.1

Departmental Staff Rehiring

Questions (240)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

240. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of retired civil or public servants who have been retained by his Department, since January 2013, on a short-term contract or consultancy basis where normal abatement rules do not apply. [35837/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

No retired civil servant has been retained by my Department since January 2013 where normal abatement rules do not apply.

The parallel information in respect of the State Bodies under the aegis of my Department is a matter for the Bodies themselves.