Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 13 Jun 1995

Vol. 454 No. 3

Written Answers. - Pea Production.

Liam Hyland


174 Mr. Hyland asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry if he will request the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Franz Fischler, to reconsider his decision to refuse area aid in respect of peas for mechanical dehydration which does not include vining peas sold fresh, frozen or processed, in view of the fact that the Commission's refusal is having a detrimental effect on pea production and will lead to job losses in processing and production; and if he will bring Ireland's unique position in this regard to the attention of the Commissioner. [10713/95]

Area aid under the EU arable support system is confined in the case of peas to those which are harvested in a dry state. Vining peas, which are harvested at a green stage, are not eligible for area aid. I made a submission to Commissioner Fischler earlier this year seeking the inclusion of vining peas in the aid system. Representations were also made to the Commission at official level and the question of the inclusion of peas which were mechanically dehydrated after harvesting was raised.

I have received a detailed response from the Commissioner setting out the reasons for excluding vining peas from the area aid system. The main reasons are: in the reform of the CAP agreed in 1992, area aid payments were included for producers in order to compensate them for loss of revenue caused by the Council's decision to reduce institutional prices for cereals and abolish those for oilseeds and pulses. As vining peas had never been covered by a previous support regime, no loss of revenue was attributable to the Council's decision and hence there was no provision for compensatory payment; inclusion of these peas in the support system threatened to create distortions in the market, partly due to the differentiated rates of aid for small and large producers. It also became evident that contracts for vining peas could be structured in such a way that the benefit would go to the processor and not the producer. For these and other reasons there was strong opposition from producers of vining peas in the major production regions to the inclusion of this crop in the area aid system; the de-coupling of area aid from production protected this form of internal support from reductions required under the GATT agreement. The introduction of an end use obligation such as air or freeze dried peas could jeopardise the protected status of these payments.
In the light of this response I am considering whether the issue can be more successfully raised in the future.