Food Safety Standards Regulation

Questions (692)

Michael Collins

Question:

692. Deputy Michael Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if it is the food business operator or staff under his remit that have the duty of care to ensure that only the highest quality equine meat enters the human food chain: if he or the food business operator has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the safety and quality of equine meat entering the human food chain; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30490/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Regulation (EC) No. 178 of 2002, which sets out the general principles and requirements of EU food law, stipulates among other things, that food business operators at all stages of production, processing and distribution within the businesses under their control must ensure that foods satisfy the requirements of food law and that these requirements are met. With regard to traceability, the regulations require that the operator must have systems in place to be able to identify any person from whom they have been supplied with a food.  They must also have a system in place to identify the businesses to which their product has been supplied.  

For their import from non-EU countries, food products of animal origin, such as horsemeat, are required to meet the relevant requirements of EU food law that are operated in third countries or regions of third countries or conditions recognised by the EU to be at least equivalent.

The Regulations relating to the import of meat from third countries are set at EU level. The basic requirements for imports of meat are set out in Regulation (EC) No 853/2004. The third country of dispatch must be on an approved list for that product and the individual establishment from which the product is dispatched must also be on an approved list. These lists are published on the EU Commission’s website. There is also a requirement that imports of meat are only allowed from countries with an approved residue monitoring plan.

The EU’s Directorate General (DG) for Health and Food Safety (previously known as the Food and Veterinary Office or FVO) carries out assessments of third countries wishing to export these products to the EU and submits for Commission approval, those where the responsible authorities can provide appropriate guarantees as regards compliance or equivalence with Community feed and food law and animal health rules. Third countries and their establishments that are approved to export are audited and inspected by the EU's Health and Food safety DG with regard to these guarantees and reports of the findings of inspections are published on its website.  

All products of animal origin for human consumption imported into the EU from third countries must be inspected at an approved Border Inspection Post (BIP). The range of checks to which products may be subjected include documentary, identity (traceability) and physical examinations to ensure that they comply with relevant EU and national legislation.  Imports must be accompanied by health certification provided by the competent authorities of the country of origin.  Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1832 of 17 October 2016, relating to changes in health certification requirements came into effect from 31 March 2017 and applies to the import of horsemeat.  It imposes inter alia a minimum six-month residency requirement for the import into the EU of meat from horses from third countries. The non-EU country must also meet specified criteria with regard to the monitoring of administered substances and residues. The EU's Health and Food Safety DG also approves third-country meat processing establishments wishing to export to the EU and audits Member States’ import controls for products from third countries.

When all import controls have been satisfied, compliant consignments may then be imported and placed on the single market,where they are subject to the EU’s Food Hygiene Regulations in the same way as other compliant food products.

Cyber Security Protocols

Questions (693)

Jack Chambers

Question:

693. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the cybersecurity protocols under the remit of his Department; if it has had a cybersecurity breach in the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30579/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department has invested considerable resources to protect the information that it needs to support the wide range of activities that it carries out and has experienced and trained staff dedicated to the prevention/detection of and the response to any cybersecurity threats.

My Department’s computer systems are independently certified to meet the ISO 27001:2013 Information Security Standard. There have been no cybersecurity breaches in the last 12 months.

GLAS Payments

Questions (694)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

694. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a hen harrier payment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30622/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 2 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2016 and has received payments in respect of 2016, 2017 and the 2018 Advance. This participant is claiming for the Hen Harrier action under GLAS.

GLAS officials are currently working to complete updates to the GLAS contract. Once the required updates are finalised and this application clears the pre-payment validations, the 2018 balancing payment will be processed. GLAS payments are continuing to issue weekly.

Nitrates Usage

Questions (695)

Danny Healy-Rae

Question:

695. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will address a matter regarding the nitrates derogation review (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30643/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Ireland’s nitrates derogation provides farmers an opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates, above 170 kg livestock manure nitrogen/ ha, subject to additional conditions designed to protect the environment. The derogation is an important facility for more than 7,000 farmers. Derogation farmers make up 6% of bovine farmers, 11% of the land area but have 20% of the bovine livestock herd. There has been a significant expansion in land area covered by the derogation of almost 35% since 2014.

In addition, a further 5,000 farmers with 13% of the national bovine herd, farm above the 170 kg livestock manure nitrogen/ha limit but export slurry to comply with the limit rather than applying for a derogation.

Recent EPA reports have highlighted deterioration in water quality and increasing green house gas and ammonia emissions. There are also significant issues around the decline of EU protected habitats in Ireland. However, we know that there opportunities to reduce the impact of these farms on the environment.

In light of the increasing land area being farmed under derogation and the environmental pressures outlined, it was considered prudent and important to the longer term retention of this important facility to review the conditions of the Nitrates derogation. Ireland's current derogation concludes in 2021, and failing to address the environmental pressures above, would negatively impact on any negotiations to renew this important facility. As part of this review, a public consultation was held and 75 submissions were received.

The Nitrates expert group which is composed of officials from the EPA, Teagasc, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and my Department is currently considering these submissions. My colleague, Minister Murphy and I expect to receive the groups recommendations shortly. 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Questions (696)

Danny Healy-Rae

Question:

696. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if supports for greater use of protected urea, lime, slurry additives and soil aeration will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30678/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The All-of-Government Plan to tackle climate breakdown identifies a series of actions for the agriculture, forestry and land-use sector that will contribute to our transition to a low carbon economy and society across abatement measures, carbon sequestration measures and displacement of fossil fuels.

These actions in this all-of-government plan are informed by the recent Teagasc Marginal Cost Abatement Curve report (MACC) - An Analysis of Abatement Potential of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) in Irish Agriculture 2021-2030. The Teagasc MACC curve provides an identifiable suite of actions for delivery including measures on the use of lime, protected urea and slurry additives identified as having potential for GHG abatement.

Protected urea or altered fertiliser formulation offers a very large abatement measure based on the replacement of Calcium Ammonium Nitrate fertiliser which would result in Nitrous Oxide emission reductions.

The application of lime as a soil conditioner and specifically to neutralise soil acidity and raise pH to an agronomic optimum level has many benefits in terms of crop production and soil nutrient availability and has potential to reduce chemical nitrogen and increase nitrogen use efficiency.

The acidification of manures and slurries using compounds such as alum, ferric chloride or polyaluminium chloride has been shown to sequester phosphorus, reduce ammonia emissions on landspreading and reduce methane and ammonia during storage.  These slurry additives showed potential to significantly reduce ammonia and methane emissions over the winter slurry storage period.

The Teagasc MACC curve did not identify soil aeration as a measure with large carbon abatement potential and therefore is not included in the Climate Action Plan. However, we continue to keep potential opportunities under review and one of actions of the climate action plan is to further review and update the Teagasc MACC to reflect any advancements since its publication in 2018.

Additionally, my Department supports research and innovation in these particular areas with ongoing research projects such as “Mitigating Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions by improved pH management of soils (MAGGE PH)”, to ensure there is a continuous pipeline of new opportunities for GHG abatement to consider.

My department will promote and encourage all actions that will assist in reaching our GHG targets by 2030. Forty percent of the future CAP (2021-2027) budget will be directed at climate and environmental measures. However, this will not be enough in itself and market based incentives and regulation will also be necessary.

Ireland has an opportunity to become a global leader in actions on climate change. If we succeed in our ambition in this area, we will create a progressive and sustainable agricultural sector into the future.

Renewable Energy Generation

Questions (697)

Danny Healy-Rae

Question:

697. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to provide farmers with supports for anaerobic digestion and on-farm renewables; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30679/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Indigenous renewable energy plays a vital role in our domestic fuel mix and will become even more important in the context of reducing our reliance on imported fuels and in meeting our challenging renewable energy targets for 2020 and 2030 and decarbonising our energy systems by 2050. 

My Department is committed to working closely with the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, which is the lead Department in this area, to ensure that the supply of domestic fuels available in the forest and agriculture sectors are mobilised to support renewable energy generation from a range of bioenergy technologies including Anaerobic Digestion.  My Department is aware of the need to encourage the utilisation of farm manure as an alternative source of energy and fully recognises the wider environmental benefits of using agricultural residues in the production of biogas / biomethane and, in particular, the potential for a significant role in the heat and transport sectors. However, the cost efficiency of this technology remains challenging, due to the low energy content and seasonality of farm manure.

The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) aims to bridge this economic gap and will support farms and businesses to adopt renewable heating systems, including biogas heating systems.  The SSRH has been developed to financially support the adoption of renewable heating systems by agricultural, commercial, industrial, district heating operators and other non-domestic heat users not covered by the EU Emissions Trading System. Under Project Ireland 2040, the National Development Plan sets out an allocation of €300 million for the rollout of the SSRH for the period up to 2027.

My colleague Richard Bruton, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment recently opened the second phase of the SSRH, an operational support for biomass boilers and anaerobic digestion heating systems for applications. Details of this scheme including the tariffs that apply are available on the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland's website at the following link: https://www.seai.ie/sustainable-solutions/support-scheme-renewable-/

In addition, my Department's Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) supports capital investment in a number of target areas which will promote, among other things, sustainability (e.g. low emissions slurry spreading equipment, farm nutrient storage, and renewable energy and energy efficiency).  I recently made €10 million available for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, following a comprehensive review of TAMS designed to increase its focus on sustainability.  Eligible investments include extension of support for Solar PV Installation to all sectors and support for LED Lighting as the only form of lighting to be grant aided.  In addition, other energy efficiency measures such as biomass boilers and water heating continue to be eligible investment items under TAMS.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Questions (698)

Danny Healy-Rae

Question:

698. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to provide full recognition of the carbon sinks from forests, permanent pastures and hedgerows; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30680/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Soil Organic Carbon can play a significant role in the land use sector in mitigating greenhouse gases and ensuring the environmental integrity of the access to Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) credits provided in the EU regulations agreed in June 2018. At a national level, the Government’s Climate Action Plan contains 14 actions relating to Irish agricultural adoption carbon abatement opportunities. There are a further 12 actions promoting diversification of land use (part of gradual transition), such as afforestation. Four additional actions look at the better management of Peatlands and soils.

Our forest estate has a very important role to play in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Through the Effort Sharing Regulation (Regulation 2018/842), recognising that there is limited abatement potential in the agriculture sector, land use including forests and grasslands have the potential to contribute an additional 26.8 million tonnes of increased removals or emissions reduction over the period 2021-2030. The Government’s Climate Action Plan specifically associates the mobilisation of these CO2 removals as part of the contribution from agriculture and land use towards Ireland’s 2030 targets. In addition, the current afforestation programme has been reviewed to enhance participation rates, while also informing land use policy to increase the benefits for climate, the environment, as well as rural communities.  Since the late 1980s, nearly €3 billion has been invested in forestry, and ongoing suitable forest management will continue to contribute 21 MtCO2eq over the period 2021 to 2030.

Research by Teagasc and the EPA has highlighted that grasslands play a key role in the provision and regulation of important ecosystem services. From a climate change perspective, grassland soils have the ability to sequester atmospheric CO2 , potentially contributing to climate change mitigation. Better management of grassland includes activities such as increased time to reseeding, increase in legumes, less frequent use of heavy machinery and long-term pasture management plans.

Furthermore, hedgerows are estimated to cover 3.9% or 660,000 km of the Irish landscape. The recently published reports by The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, as well as the All-of-Government Climate Action Plan to tackle climate breakdown both recognise the contribution of hedgerows to climate adaptation as well as to carbon sequestration and storage.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has made and will continue to make an increasingly significant contribution to the environmental sustainability of the Irish agriculture.

Forty percent of the future CAP (2021-2027) budget will be directed at climate and environmental measures which will likely include payments which promote biodiversity, water quality and carbon storage.

Organic Farming

Questions (699)

Danny Healy-Rae

Question:

699. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of promoting greater use of organic manures on farms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30682/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The use of organic manures is important in supplying key nutrients for our cropping and grass based systems of production. Farmers are required to adhere to best practice as set out by the Nitrates Regulation (SI 605/2016) and the Nitrates Explanatory Handbook for Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Water Regulations 2018. The implementation of these are through the Nitrates Action Programme (NAP), and farmers are obliged to comply with the NAP with regard to spreading organic manure i.e. Slurry/Organic Manures can be a very cost effective resource to maintain and increase soil fertility levels. The department promote the use of organic manures as efficiently as possible to ensure maximum nutrient recovery.

Innovation and the development of technology have further enhanced the use of organic manures within our systems of production. Low-emission slurry spreading (LESS) techniques has become increasingly popular.  LESS was included as a measure within the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) in 2015 and, as a measure for derogation farmers in 2017. It has received significant support under the Targetted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS). Over 2,000 farmers have been approved to purchase machinery.  In relation to payments, over 850 applicants have already been paid over €10m under the Low Emission Slurry Spreading Scheme.  In addition, a further 495 young farmers have invested in this equipment bringing the total spend under TAMS II on Low Emission Slurry Spreading to date to €15.2m. 

LESS can provide either through the use of a trailing shoe, dribble bar or injector system some significant benefits to the environment and improve the nutrient use efficiency of our organic manures. The benefits are as follows;

- can reduce the ammonia emissions up to 97% of those emitted with a splash plate

- LESS application process will increase the Nitrogen value by approximately three units per 1,000 gallons of slurry

- Improved flexibility with application as a result of reduced contamination of herbage, leading to a quicker return to grazing.

- The opportunity to apply slurry onto swards with larger grass covers.

- The odours released during and after application are also usually reduced when using a trailing shoe or band spreader method compared with a splash plate.

Living Wage

Questions (700)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

700. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the estimated cost of implementing a living wage €12.30 for all employees directly employed and or in agencies under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30763/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Based on the introduction of a minimal threshold hourly rate of €12.30, the estimated additional annual payroll cost for staff employed by my Department would be approximately €783,500. It should be noted that this figure does not include the costs associated with the employment of temporary Clerical Officers.

The parallel information in respect of State Bodies under the aegis of this Department is a matter for the bodies themselves. The information requested has been forwarded to them for direct reply to the Deputy.

Farm Inspections

Questions (701)

Denis Naughten

Question:

701. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps taken to date to fulfil commitments under the programme for a partnership Government on farm inspections and penalties; the measures ongoing or planned; if evidence outlining the impact of such changes will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30841/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department has two commitments under the Programme for Partnership Government in relation to farm inspections and penalties.

The first relates to the simplification measures for the inspection regime and the implementation of the proposed 'yellow card system'.

As part of the annual inspection programme required under the EU regulations governing the Direct Payments Schemes and various Rural Development measures, my Department implements the option to complete land eligibility inspections by means of Remote Sensing using up-to-date satellite imagery, with some 85% of the requirement being completed by this means in 2018.  My Department, in consultation with farm organisations, avails of the option of 'stacking' of inspections, whereby cases that are selected for inspection under the Basic Payment Scheme can also count towards the inspection requirements under Greening, ANC, etc. This practice endeavours to minimise the number of 'gates crossed' as much as possible by also 'stacking' Animal Identification and Registration (IDR) inspections on land eligibility inspections and combining Animal IDR inspections with Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) and/or Sheep Welfare Scheme (SWS) inspections, where feasible.

In order to meet the regulatory requirements for the 2018 inspections programme across the various schemes and inspection types, over 26,000 inspections were required. When the options of Remote Sensing inspections and 'stacking' of inspections were applied, this resulted in the actual number of holdings subject to a 'ground' inspection being circa. 8,500.    

In relation to the 'Yellow Card' system for penalties, this relates to land eligibility checks, covering both administrative checks and inspections, and applies to those cases where a determined over-declaration in area is greater than 3% or 2 hectares but does not exceed 10%. For such cases, the penalty will be further reduced by 50%, subject to specific additional criteria. This provision applies to the Basic Payment Scheme, the Young Farmers Scheme and the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme only. My Department implemented this provision in 2016 and, in the period 2016 to 2018, some 2,000 applicants under the Basic Payment Scheme benefitted from this provision.

My Department also applies the provision under the regulations governing the Cross Compliance regime where a breach is deemed to be minor in nature and remedial action is taken within a specified period, no monetary sanction will apply.

The second commitment relates to the holding of information meetings with farmers.  In 2018 and 2019 to date, my Department held a series (15) of information evenings, in collaboration with Teagasc, at various locations throughout the country. These meetings covered an overview of the inspection process and common reasons for penalties. Farmers were also afforded the opportunity to discuss their own individual issues with Department and Teagasc personnel on a one-to-one basis. Inspection staff also  attended a number of farmer meetings in collaboration with some of the farming organisation. Furthermore, information on the reasons for penalties was presented to farmers at the 2018 National Ploughing Championship.  It is intended to hold a further series of info meetings in late 2019/early 2020.

Departmental Data

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

Questions (702)

Denis Naughten

Question:

702. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the different income streams directly paid by persons to his Department or agencies under his remit, such as motor tax; the number of persons making annual payments; the value of same; the number of payments made through staged or increment payments; the value of same; the additional income generated as a result of payments being made on an incremental basis; if incremental payments are not available, the reason for same; the corresponding figures for 1999 and 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30846/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The information requested by the Deputy is not readily available.  I will arrange for the information to be compiled and will forward it to the Deputy as soon as possible. 

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
  I refer to the following Parliamentary Question No. 702 for answer on 11 July 2019.  
As the Deputy will appreciate, my Department and the bodies under its aegis are responsible for a broad range of activities. While some of these activities may be subject to a charge, following an examination, none would constitute an income stream of the type instanced by the Deputy.
Details of income and expenditure by my Department and the bodies under its aegis are set out in the Annual Reports and Accounts published each year, which are subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (703)

Jack Chambers

Question:

703. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the capital projects which have been delayed under Project Ireland 2040 under the remit of his Department and agencies in tabular form; when these projects will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30875/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department has not had any capital projects delayed under Project Ireland 2040.

Project Ireland 2040

Questions (704)

Jack Chambers

Question:

704. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the capital projects which have commenced under Project Ireland 2040 under the remit of his Department and agencies in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30911/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the attached table

Capital Projects Commenced Under Project Ireland 2040

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (705)

Jack Chambers

Question:

705. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if expenditure estimates for capital projects under Project Ireland 2040 under the remit of his Department and agencies match projected cost requirements in tabular from; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30957/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Sheep Welfare Scheme

Questions (706)

Robert Troy

Question:

706. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a sheep welfare payment on appeal will be awarded to a person (details supplied). [31023/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

An application was received under the 2017 Sheep Welfare scheme from the person named on 20 January 2017 and he has been paid in full for 2017.   Under the terms and conditions of the scheme, applicants who wished to continue in the scheme for 2018 were required to complete and return a Sheep Welfare Scheme continuance sheet prior to a closing date of 2nd February 2018.  In this case, no continuation sheet was received in respect of the 2018 scheme year.

The person named contacted the Department on 15 January 2019 seeking a review of his case. He was advised to provide proof of postage for the Sheep Welfare continuance sheet in order to clarify the position.

Following this correspondence, the person named informed officials that he did not have proof of postage in this case.  Accordingly, he was advised of his right to have this case further reviewed by the independent Agricultural Appeals Office.   Following this review by the Appeals Office, the Department's decision with respect to the individuals participation in the 2018 Scheme was upheld and the person named was informed that no payment would issue in respect of the 2018 Sheep Welfare Scheme.

However, the Agriculture Appeals Office have determined that where the herdowner can provide proof that the actions under the 2018 Sheep Welfare Scheme were carried out, the person named can continue in the Sheep Welfare Scheme for the next two years.  Department officials have requested the necessary documentation from the person named and, upon receipt of same, the applicant will be included for participation in the 2019 Scheme.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (707)

Barry Cowen

Question:

707. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of capital projects being undertaken by his Department; the final agreed tender price; the estimated cost of each capital project in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31067/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Capital Expenditure Programme

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Questions (708)

Barry Cowen

Question:

708. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the capital projects completed since 2010; the final agreed tender price for each project; the actual cost of each project; if the actual cost exceeded the tender price; the reason therefor in each case in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31083/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

It is not possible to provide a comprehensive response to the Deputy in the required timeframe. I will arrange for a reply to be forwarded directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Bord Iascaigh Mhara

Questions (709)

Robert Troy

Question:

709. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an overview will be provided of the China Seafood Council initiative of Bord Iascaigh Mhara; and the 2019 funding allocation for the programme. [31127/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The China Council was established by Bord Iascaigh Mhara in order to adopt a more structured and cohesive approach to the Chinese market by Irish companies. The Council facilitates the formation of collectives, whereby companies come together to form a group/collective to pool resources and lower market development costs.  The council provides a forum for the members to promote the Irish shellfish producing industry and to address common export opportunities and challenges in the Chinese market, which can be of mutual benefit to all the members operating in the Chinese market.

BIM, as the facilitator of the Council, has undertaken a number of EMFF-funded projects to support the work of the Council.  For example, projects have been undertaken to evaluate the supply chain and understand the market opportunities for Irish Shellfish in the tier one cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen and a market analysis and culinary profile was undertaken for brown crab in tier one cities to establish a premium position for live and frozen brown crab.

At this time, BIM has not submitted any request to my Department for 2019 EMFF funding of any project connected to the China Council.

Fisheries Protection

Questions (710)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

710. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the 2017 and 2018 annual breakdown in tabular form in tonnage and financial terms of all species caught in the 0 to 6 mile zone. [31201/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Much of the information the Deputy has requested is contained within the documentation attaching to the consultation paper on the Review of Trawling within the Six Nautical Mile Zone. To inform the review and consideration of fishing access inside the 6 nautical mile zone, the Department requested that the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara conduct an analysis, from existing data sources, of the extent and impact (economic and biological) of trawling activity by vessels inside Ireland’s 6nm zone, including inside the baselines (internal waters).

This documentation relating to this review is available on my Department's website at the following link -

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/seafood/sea-fisheriespolicymanagementdivision/completedpublicconsultations/publicconsultationontrawlinginside6nauticalmiles/

Agriculture Scheme Data

Questions (711)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

711. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the financial allocations on an annual basis under the 2014-2020 RDP for schemes (details supplied); the annual amount expended on the schemes in each year since established; the number of active participants in each scheme; and the number of approved applicants that subsequently withdrew from each scheme in tabular form. [31202/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.  

Table 1 – Allocations and Expenditure under certain RDP Schemes  

 

Knowledge Transfer Scheme €000  

GLAS

€000  

Beef Data and Genomics Programme €000  

TAMS II €000  

Sheep Welfare Scheme

€000  

Hen Harrier Programme

€000  

Allocation 2015

0

20,000

35,000

0

0

0

Expenditure 2015

0

11,453

34,692

0

0

0

Allocation 2016

0

139,500

52,000

28,000

0

0

Expenditure 2016

0

102,615

61,800

3,971

0

0

Allocation 2017

22,821

228,500

49,000

49,832

17,000

2,940

Expenditure 2017

13,784

195,583

47,137

31,256

15,851

717,000

Allocation 2018

23,000

226,000

49,500

69,943

20,000

3,500

Expenditure 2018

21,665

231,978

47,451

66,751

17,650

1,154

Allocation 2019

25,000

203,000

46,500

70,000

18,000

3,115

Expenditure to June 2019

3,882

50,101

4,583

39,537

2,697

586

The 2020 allocations will be determined as part of the annual estimates process for 2020. 

 Table 2 – No. of participants and withdrawals

 

Knowledge Transfer Scheme  

GLAS  

Beef Data and Genomics Programme  

TAMS II  

Sheep Welfare Scheme  

Hen Harrier Programme  

Number of active participants

18,525

48,715*

24,544

15,742

18,899

1,395

Number of applicants that have withdrawn

1,177

3,424

7,308**

534

1,239

1

* Data includes both withdrawn and rejected applications. Also, some double counting may occur as individuals who moved tranche could be recorded as both active in the latter tranche but withdrawn/rejected in the former tranche.

** Data includes participants excluded from the scheme because of issues relating to non-completion of training and Carbon Navigator requirements.

Beef Environmental Efficiency Scheme Pilot

Questions (712)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

712. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications to the beef environmental efficiency pilot scheme by the closing deadline by county in tabular form; the number of applications approved and not approved; and the number of approved applications in which payments have issued. [31205/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) is a one year pilot to further increase economic and environmental efficiency in the suckler herd through better quality data on herd performance, supporting decision making on farm.

There are currently 19,131 participants in BEEP, a breakdown of which, by county, is provided in the following table.

County

No. of Applicants

CARLOW

269

CAVAN

923

CLARE

1,483

CORK 

1,412

DONEGAL

912

DUBLIN

55

GALWAY

2,070

KERRY

965

KILDARE

217

KILKENNY

526

LAOIS

514

LEITRIM

645

LIMERICK

610

LONGFORD

574

LOUTH

182

MAYO

1,762

MEATH

454

MONAGHAN

648

OFFALY

477

ROSCOMMON

1,119

SLIGO

801

TIPPERARY

852

WATERFORD

292

WESTMEATH

591

WEXFORD

462

WICKLOW

316

Requirements of the Pilot include:

1.  All Calves being submitted for weighing must be born between 01 July 2018 and 30 June 2019.

2. Unweaned Live Calf and Dam must be weighed on the applicant's holding on the same day.

3. Only scales registered and used in accordance with the requirements of Annex 1 of the Terms and Conditions of the Pilot may be employed for the purposes of this Pilot.

4.  Weights must be submitted between 08 March 2019 and 01 November 2019 in accordance with Annex 1 of the Terms and Conditions of the Pilot. 

On compliance with these requirements and the Terms and Conditions of the Pilot, applicants will be approved for payment.

Beef Environmental Efficiency Scheme Data

Questions (713)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

713. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of cows registered to the beef environmental efficiency pilot scheme, including all calves born up until 30 June 2019 that are eligible in tabular form. [31206/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The information requested by the Deputy is provided in the following table.

BEEP

No of Eligible Cows Registered

No. of Registered Herds

No. of calves born 01/07/18 –   30/06/19.*

447,770 

 18,695

 431,073

* Herdowners have 27 days in which to register calves, so this number is likely to change slightly.

Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme

Questions (714)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

714. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications received under the targeted agricultural modernisation scheme 2 by county and tranche in tabular form; the number of approved applications by county; the number of payment claims logged by county; the number of payment claims approved for payment by county; the funds allocated to the scheme under the 2014-2020 RDP; the amount expended to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31207/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The budget for the TAMS II Scheme under the RDP 2014 - 2020 is €395m and expenditure to date is €154m. The value of the approvals in place that have not yet resulted in a payment is a further €122.5m. This figure does not include the value of approvals currently being issued under Tranche 13.  

The details requested by the Deputy are in the following tables. 

TAMS II Applications Received By County and Tranche

Tranche

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

Totals

Carlow

34

20

22

19

27

16

59

36

64

36

27

50

68

73

0

551

Cavan

108

100

101

80

52

31

35

40

73

48

44

64

140

69

0

985

Clare

118

72

47

44

54

41

25

32

48

59

44

63

97

62

0

806

Cork

570

324

258

233

194

191

245

284

418

312

239

372

473

449

0

4,562

Donegal

89

69

163

126

110

61

83

76

135

85

55

96

201

114

0

1,463

Dublin

6

5

9

6

8

2

37

11

23

12

13

9

22

13

0

176

Galway

160

178

182

144

129

68

89

89

132

141

83

120

233

138

0

1,886

Kerry

258

188

110

105

106

80

99

97

131

100

83

142

220

140

0

1,859

Kildare

37

27

35

26

24

25

70

32

87

52

57

54

109

60

0

695

Kilkenny

144

148

110

68

67

43

102

104

118

88

75

107

113

136

0

1,423

Laois

68

62

42

44

62

29

78

48

74

62

53

64

84

88

0

858

Leitrim

40

35

42

30

25

14

14

11

30

12

13

20

57

30

0

373

Limerick

159

115

87

78

86

53

78

104

86

87

49

111

142

117

0

1,352

Longford

27

33

31

16

32

22

26

21

26

20

16

29

38

40

0

377

Louth

33

17

16

22

23

15

37

29

33

21

16

22

31

28

0

343

Mayo

71

53

105

81

106

54

51

50

87

67

53

81

105

67

0

1,031

Meath

86

56

71

50

57

38

109

49

69

59

51

64

112

67

0

938

Monaghan

133

99

52

51

53

26

31

52

56

49

56

39

148

64

1

910

Offaly

54

50

49

48

38

31

39

35

58

32

36

64

74

73

0

681

Roscommon

86

72

102

99

72

51

32

36

48

51

32

68

101

57

0

907

Sligo

41

38

28

25

26

18

14

18

38

28

15

21

34

25

1

370

Tipperary

297

192

129

128

118

77

166

144

211

131

124

155

231

197

0

2,300

Waterford

106

86

50

61

45

36

55

53

75

67

44

50

85

60

0

873

Westmeath

58

54

54

52

45

28

29

22

44

45

43

41

61

55

0

631

Wexford

127

96

74

91

68

46

174

113

160

124

110

147

172

118

1

1,621

Wicklow

43

23

32

35

29

18

43

40

53

40

27

37

58

39

1

518

Totals

2,953

2,212

2,001

1,762

1,656

1,114

1,820

1,626

2,377

1,828

1,458

2,090

3,209

2,379

4

28,489

TAMS II - Approvals By County

County

Numbers Approved

Carlow

383

Cavan

677

Clare

631

Cork

3,445

Donegal

1,032

Dublin

132

Galway

1,391

Kerry

1,365

Kildare

474

Kilkenny

1,046

Laois

650

Leitrim

232

Limerick

1,053

Longford

283

Louth

262

Mayo

735

Meath

684

Monaghan

621

Offaly

507

Roscommon

670

Sligo

270

Tipperary

1,776

Waterford

688

Westmeath

461

Wexford

1,243

Wicklow

374

Total

21,085

TAMS II - Payment Claims Received By County

County

Number of Claims Received

Carlow

210

Cavan

299

Clare

323

Cork

1767

Donegal

425

Dublin

71

Galway

662

Kerry

626

Kildare

240

Kilkenny

630

Laois

341

Leitrim

109

Limerick

519

Longford

116

Louth

134

Mayo

331

Meath

339

Monaghan

286

Offaly

253

Roscommon

320

Sligo

124

Tipperary

978

Waterford

372

Westmeath

210

Wexford

663

Wicklow

179

Total

10,527

 

TAMS II - Payment Claims Approved By County

County

Numbers of Claims Approved

Carlow

193

Cavan

275

Clare

307

Cork

1,622

Donegal

384

Dublin

64

Galway

628

Kerry

575

Kildare

229

Kilkenny

573

Laois

327

Leitrim

96

Limerick

486

Longford

105

Louth

122

Mayo

298

Meath

321

Monaghan

261

Offaly

248

Roscommon

301

Sligo

111

Tipperary

941

Waterford

344

Westmeath

196

Wexford

613

Wicklow

167

Total

9,787

Trade Agreements

Questions (715)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

715. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a final completed sustainability impact assessment of the Mercosur trade agreement will be completed by the European Commission; if only an inception report has been completed to date; and if five stages remain to be completed before the final sustainability impact assessment report is completed. [31210/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Inception Report for the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement Sustainability Impact Assessment has been completed. This assessment provides an overview of the proposed framework for conducting the sustainability assessment analysis and methodologies to be employed, including the consultations activities, for the study.

The Inception Report also only provides the preliminary analysis for the tasks to be expanded upon throughout the implementation of the project, namely, the quantitative and qualitative methodologies for the economic analysis; social analysis; environmental analysis, human rights analysis; and the sectoral analysis.

The final report, is expected to include recommendations to maximise the benefits of the agreement while ensuring the competitiveness of enterprises and preventing or minimising potential negative impacts.

Sheepmeat Sector

Questions (716)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

716. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on prices farmers are receiving from factories for lamb; and his further views on suggestions that imported lamb is being used to undermine prices to local factory suppliers. [31211/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As the Deputy will be aware, as Minister for Agriculture, I have no role in determining the prices for sheep meat or any other commodity, nor can I directly intervene in the determination of prices.  Equally, it is not my role to comment on commercial decisions take by private entities in an open market.

My Department provides the following supports to the sheep sector.

I introduced the Sheep Welfare Scheme in December 2016 in order to provide support for sheep farmers in improving welfare standards in the national sheep flock.  Participating farmers are paid €10 per eligible ewe, and to date some €36m has issued to farmers in respect of the first two years of the Scheme.

In addition to supports which are available for sheep farmers under the Rural Development Programme, including GLAS, ANCs and Knowledge Transfer Groups, sheep farmers also benefit from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening payments under CAP Pillar I. 

I have also made available financial support to sheep farmers for compliance with new sheep EID rules of €100 per farmer.

The pursuit and development of new markets for Irish agri-food exports is  a constant and central component of the strategic development of the industry, as evidenced by its placement at the centre of Food Wise 2025, the industry’s strategy for development. Food Wise 2025 prioritises the potential for growth in new and emerging markets, particularly in Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Gulf region.

In May, during the China Trade mission, I met with the Vice Minister of General Administration of Customs in China (GACC) and his officials. Sheepmeat access was a key topic discussed at this meeting.  I received confirmation that GACC is processing Ireland's sheepmeat application and a commitment that officials from GACC will visit Ireland on a sheepmeat audit.

In June, on the Japanese trade mission, I met both my counterpart, the Japanese Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), and with the Vice Minister for Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW).  These Ministerial meetings followed detailed technical meetings involving senior officials from both Ministries.  At the conclusion of these meetings, I was delighted to announce that we had reached agreement in principle on market access for Irish sheepmeat.  Details will be finalised by an exchange of letters between my Department and the relevant Japanese officials

I am strongly of the view that the current range of supports available to farmers, together with ensuring market access to as many markets as possible are appropriate supports for the continued development of the sector. 

I will continue to argue for as strong a CAP budget as possible, post-2020.  In particular, I am committed to ensuring that sheep farmers continue to receive strong support in the next CAP.  My view is that such payments should support and encourage farmers to make the best decisions possible to improve the economic and environmental efficiency, of their farming system.