March 2, 2011

Irish government offers assistance to local pig, poultry sectors


A number of initiatives to sustain the intensive pig and poultry sectors has been confirmed by Brendan Smith, the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Smith said, "I am particularly pleased with the progress made on developing initiatives to support the pig and poultry sectors, since Ireland's second National Action Programme under the Nitrates Directive was approved by the European Commission last November."

The Minister embraced the fact that the EU Commission had given a limited extension of the transitional arrangement in respect of the land spreading of pig and poultry manure and spent mushroom compost until January 1, 2017, under the new regulations. Smith said that the extension gave the industry essential breathing space to adapt to the requirements of the revised regulations.

Smith said, "In order to adapt to the new situation post-2013, I am providing funding this year to examine ways in which technology can assist in the transfer of organic manures and my department is working with closely the industry and Teagasc to explore ways of increasing utilisation of pig and poultry manure on tillage farms."

In a new initiative started this year, the department issued letters to farmers giving them an estimate of their capacity to take in organic fertiliser this year, based on 2010 Nitrogen and Phosphorus statements. Initial reaction from farmers has been positive and should lead to bigger area of spread lands being available for pig and poultry farmers.

Smith said that he believed that the measures contained in Ireland's new National Action Programme, the renewal of Ireland's derogation and the initiatives developed since to support the pig and poultry sectors, will underpin the efforts of Ireland's agri-food sector to meet the ambitious targets set out in the Food Harvest 2020 strategy, on the basis of sustainable farming practices.

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