I propose to take Questions Nos. 181 and 182 together.
The poultry sector plays a very important role within the Irish agri-food sector, supporting approximately 6,000 jobs, mainly in rural areas.
Irish production reached record levels in 2017, with 95.5 m birds slaughtered in export-approved plants. This was an increase of 3.9% compared to 2016, with most of the increase evident in broiler and duck production. To the end of September 2018, Irish poultry production has continued to rise, increasing by 1.8m birds, or 2.6% compared to last year.
The value of Irish poultry exports in 2017 increased by 3% to an estimated €278 million (CSO trade data), with the United Kingdom accounting for some 80% of this figure in value terms. Other EU markets now account for almost 10% of Irish exports, with France leading the way. Growth has also been evident in trade with Scandinavia and Spain. Exports to third country markets now amount to 10% of export totals, with South Africa showing the biggest growth for Irish exporters.
The Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014 – 2020 provides key supports for the development and the competitiveness of the Irish poultry sector. The key areas for support in the RDP for the poultry sector include support for on-farm capital investment under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme II (TAMS II) and knowledge transfer and innovation measures, aimed at underpinning farm viability, sustainability and growth through the adoption of best practice and innovative solutions. These programmes will continue to be the main area of support for the poultry sector.
The investments for the Poultry Sector covered in the PPIS Scheme of TAMS II focus on energy efficient measures such as heat recovery units, solar panels, feed system upgrades, energy efficient upgrades for Poultry houses including insulation, ventilation fans and replacement concrete floors for temperature control. Fixed in water medicine dispensers and water meters are also included in the investment items allowable under the Scheme, as are disease reduction facilities for existing poultry houses.
The Scheme is open to farmers who (i) generate a minimum of 20 production units from farming and (ii) who have a Department identifier. The calculation of Production Units for Intensive Enterprises includes, for Turkeys (fattening), a rate of 3.0 units per 1000 bird places.