Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
330. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the areas of land under the various forms of bio-fuel production; the extent to which trends are monitored on an ongoing basis with particular reference to the need for viability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4203/10]
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Less than 0.2% of the agricultural land in Ireland is under non-food crops made up of oilseeds, miscanthus, willow and small quantities of wheat and oats used for energy purposes. A table details the areas sown since 2005 in hectares.
|Year||Willow||Miscanthus||Oilseed rape||Hemp & switch grass||Total Hectares|
As the table shows, production has concentrated on the cultivation of oilseeds, willow and miscanthus. Oilseed rape is traditionally grown in Ireland as a break crop in a one-in-four year rotation. Oilseeds are used in pure plant oil and biodiesel production or for use in the food and animal feed markets. High yields are required to make the crop economically viable in Ireland. Willow and miscanthus crops produce pellet and wood chip materials to generate heat and power in the domestic and commercial sectors. Yields vary according to crop management and environmental factors specific to any one particular site.
My Department continues to monitor trends in energy crop production. We are currently reviewing the operation of the Bioenergy Scheme, which grant aided the cultivation of willow and miscanthus crops on a pilot basis over the period 2007 to 2009. In general, the viability of non-food crops can only be sustained in the long-term if they generate profitable returns for farmers and if sustainable end use markets are developed.
|Last Updated: 31/03/2011 18:42:23||Page of 218|