I propose to take Questions Nos. 329 and 330 together.
Ireland currently has formally recognised Producer Organisations (POs) under the EU Producer Organisations scheme in the fruit and vegetable and beef sectors.
There are currently four fruit and vegetable POs recognised under the EU Producer Organisations scheme in Ireland. The EU fruit and vegetables regime supports POs for implementing operational programmes with funding contributions. Producer members of the PO must contribute at least 50% of the approved expenditure under the operational programs, with the remaining 50% coming from EU assistance. The maximum level of EU aid per PO is capped 4.1% of the Value of Marketed Production (VMP) of each PO.
Through POs, members can strengthen their positions in the supply chain, by consolidating supply and achieve the efficiencies of scale through greater collaboration and co-operation that enables them to manage the production, storage, grading, packing and marketing of their produce to the retail, food service, wholesale and processing sectors more effectively. Under the National Strategy for Sustainable Operational programmes for fruit and vegetables, producers of fruit and vegetables are encouraged to enter the PO scheme. My Department has facilitated new entrants into this scheme to form POs for this sector.
In the beef sector, there are currently two recognised Producer Organisations. My Department is committed to assisting any new applications for recognition and officials are currently engaging with a third group with a view to developing an application. Currently, in the beef sector, there is support available in the form of grant aid of up to €3,000 per group for advisory costs for establishment. Opportunities for enhancement of support to Producer Organisations in the beef sector are currently being considered in the context of the next RDP.
Details of the scheme for Beef Producer Organisation and details of the recognised Beef POs are publically available on my Department’s website: