Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Questions (606)

Matt Carthy


606. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the supports in place for the pig sector; his plans to increase supports to the sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12402/20]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The grade E average pig price for 2020 to date stands at €1.82/kg, which is 10.6% higher than the 2019 average. The current Irish price stands at €1.62/kg, level with the EU average.

TAMS II measures provide grants for capital investment in physical assets to assist the agriculture sector, including the pig sector, to develop their businesses. The scheme provides grant aid to the pig sector at a rate of 40% to facilitate investment centred upon improving animal health and welfare. Earlier this year, I announced my intention to increase the investment ceiling for the Pig and Poultry Investment Scheme from €80,000 to €200,000. This proposed amendment to the RDP Programme is subject to Commission approval.

The Pig Implementation Strategy Group oversees implementation of the measures recommended in the report of the Pig Industry Stakeholder Group. This group has an important role to play in achieving the objectives for the industry as laid out in Food Wise 2025. The increase in the investment ceiling for the Pig and Poultry Investment Scheme was a key recommendation from this group. Other supports stemming from this initiative cover animal health, biosecurity and the LEAN Programme. The Lean Programme for the sector was rolled out in 2019 by DAFM in partnership with Bord Bia, Teagasc and Enterprise Ireland. This programme will continue to operate in 2020 subject to the successful easing of COVID-19 restrictions in line with the Government’s roadmap to reopen the economy.

In 2019, approximately one-third of Irish pigmeat exports in value terms went to international markets. My Department continues to pursue the opening of new markets for pigmeat and the enhancement of existing ones in consultation with stakeholders. Currently, Irish pigmeat can be exported to a broad range of international markets including, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, and the USA. In May, I was pleased to announce the opening of the Mexican market for Irish pigmeat. With a population of more than 120 million, the Mexican market represents a substantial opportunity for Irish pigmeat exports.