Thursday, 18 November 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
155. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the extent to which potato growing has increased or decreased in the past ten years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29623/04]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mary Coughlan): During the past ten years potato production area has fallen from 16,600 ha. in 1994 to 13,700 ha. in 2003. The decline in production area continued through the 1990s but has now stabilised at an average of 13,400 ha. for the past three years. Last year saw an increase of 2% in the area planted to potatoes.
The number of potato growers has been halved over the ten year period but numbers have stabilised at 800 growers for the past two years. The reduction in growers has primarily come from growers with smaller holdings. Irish potato production is now dominated by a small number of large scale growers with the largest 200 growers accounting for 80% of the total production area.
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