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Irish Egg Sector Funding will Create Disadvantage

by 5m Editor
18 June 2010, at 11:16am

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union has expressed its concern following this week’s announcement that the Republic of Ireland poultry sector is to receive significant funding towards cage conversion.

The welfare scheme, which is worth almost €29 million, forms part of a €113 million overall scheme launched by the Government for on-farm investment, aimed at improving the standards of animal welfare in poultry production and sow housing. Our counterparts in ROI have indicated that this will amount to a grant of just over €11 per bird.

UFU Poultry Committee Chairman John McLenaghan said, “It is both refreshing and disheartening to see the ROI government’s response to the problems facing the egg sector for the conversion of housing to meet new EU standards. These actions are in contrast to DARD’s lack of support for the poultry industry and re-enforces the fact that funding from the Farm Modernisation Scheme will not be enough.

“The UFU Poultry Committee has already expressed its disappointment in the Agricultural Minister’s response to our request for assistance for the egg sector earlier this year. We have clearly stressed the difficult position that the industry is in and the potential problems farmers may face in successfully financing conversion within the required time.

“The Minister’s reliance on the Farm Modernisation Scheme, which will only offer a maximum grant of £4,000, is inadequate. The cost to an individual producer of converting conventional cages to an alternative system can amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds which many poultry farmers simply don’t have. This new funding for the ROI also now creates a competitive disadvantage for Northern Ireland producers which is further distorted by potential imports of cage eggs from other EU member states who have already indicated that they will not meet the 2012 deadline.

“Egg producers have very little time now before they must decide whether to invest heavily or cease production. Our Minister needs to act now and provide an adequate solution to the industry’s problems.”

Further Reading

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