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Gnáthamharc

Food Industry.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 11 March 2010

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Ceisteanna (67)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

59 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will, in conjunction with the Department of Education and Science, seek to put in place incentives for those within the agriculture industry to avail of further education to maintain the high standard of Irish food products. [12013/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

My Department has no direct role in the provision of further education programmes in the agri-food sector. However, Teagasc, the Agriculture, Food and Development Authority delivers a wide range of agricultural education and training services to the agriculture industry. They receive substantial Exchequer resources each year from my Department to fund these activities. The total grant in aid funding provided in 2010 is €126 million.

Currently, Teagasc delivers its education and training programme through a network of 8 colleges, 80 local Teagasc centres and the Teagasc eCollege. Further education and training courses are available in agriculture, horticulture and forestry at the agricultural and horticultural colleges. In addition, higher-level education courses in agriculture, horticulture, agri-business, agricultural mechanisation and equine studies are provided jointly with Institutes of Technology. All of Teagasc's education and training programmes are accredited within the National Framework under the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland. Over the past three years, the number of new applicants for full-time courses at colleges has increased from 618 in 2006 to 1, 129 in 2009.

Primary responsibility for the standards of Irish food products rests with the food industry itself and with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland who has statutory responsibility for ensuring that all food produced, distributed or marketed in the State meets the highest standards of food safety and hygiene.

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