Tuesday, 27 June 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
375. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the plans her Department has for the barley growers of south Kildare following the recent downsizing of a manufacturing facility in that area (details supplied) in view of the fact that one of the reasons for downsizing was the closure of exports for the barley product; if substitute crops or other uses are being considered; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24513/06]
383. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the plans her Department has for the barley growers of south Kildare following the downsizing of a local manufacturing unit in the area (details supplied); if alternative crop usages are being considered; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24746/06]
386. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food her Departments position in relation to the provision of alternative crops for the farming community of the midlands including Kildare, Carlow and Wicklow and the south east, to overcome the loss of the barley crop; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24761/06]
Ireland is a surplus producer of malt with exports in the region of 50,000 tonnes. Following the closure of the Banagher plant last September, Minch Malt Ltd., which is part of the Greencore Malting Group, decided to consolidate operations at the bigger Athy plant, to solidify the domestic market. I understand that Greencore invested €4.5million in the Athy facility last year, increasing the storage capacity and installing new driers.
I understand that Minch Malt Ltd., has recently announced a rationalization at its malting plant at Athy, Co Kildare. The decision to rationalize the plant by Greencore was a commercial decision taken by the company itself.
The single farm payment introduced last year allows greater freedom to farm and gives producers the opportunity to tailor their enterprises to meet consumer and market demands. Farmers who may be affected by the rationalization at the Athy plant may decide to produce barley for the feed barley market instead. Furthermore, support to farmers for the growing alternative crops is provided by way of the Energy Crops Scheme which was introduced under the reform of the CAP and which is administered by my Department. Under this scheme, energy crops may qualify for aid of €45 per hectare provided they are intended primarily for use in the production of biofuels and electric and thermal energy produced from biomass. In addition to this scheme, set aside land can be used for a variety of non-food uses including the growing of crops for energy purpose and will therefore qualify to activate set-aside entitlements under the Single Payment Scheme.
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