June 21, 2010


Northern Ireland's poultry farmers call for more support


Northern Irish farmers have called for extra government assistance to convert to enriched cages to meet EU standards ahead of the 2012 conventional cage ban.


The Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) expressed disappointment over the support provided by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD).


"It is both refreshing and disheartening to see the Republic of Ireland (ROI) government's response to the problems facing the egg sector for the conversion of housing to meet new EU standards," UFU poultry committee chairman John McLenaghan said.


"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 new €29 million (US$36.05 million) is part of a €113 million (US$140.46 million) support package aimed at improving the welfare standard of poultry and pig housing in the ROI which will.


"The Minister's reliance on the Farm Modernisation Scheme, which will only offer a maximum grant of £4,000 (US$5,952.63), is inadequate," Mr McLenaghan said.


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. Egg producers have very little time now before they must decide whether to invest heavily or cease production.


The UFU called on the Minister to implement changes to offer similar incentives to Northern Irish producers to convert their operations to enriched cages.

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