Ireland’s poultry industry must organise itself quickly if it is order to benefit from Pillar 2 of the Reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
This was stated by Independent MEP Marian Harkin at Thursday's public meeting in Cootehill convened for the recently created poultry Council to report on its progress. Marian Harkin said that it was imperative for all sectors of the industry to focus on funding which could, for the first time, be available from the CAP.
Speaking after the meeting she told the Celt: “It is gratifying to see how quickly the representatives elected at the last meeting got their game together and as a poultry Council achieved a rapport with the Minister and Department of Agriculture which has opened a number of doors.
“At our meeting last Thursday I pointed out that there would be many interests competing for funding from Pillar 2 and proposals from the poultry sector should be put forward as quickly as possible. Funding could be available for a range of activities from farm improvement, efficiency measures, research and marketing to risk management."
The meeting was addressed by Alo Mohan, Chairman, IFA National Poultry Committee, Owen Brookes, Irish Egg Association, Justin Carton, Chairman, Poultry Council and Poultry Processors’ Association and Frank Clerkin, Veterinarian. Responding to many questions from the floor, it emerged that serious issues needed to be tackled about the disposal of poultry litter including the creation of a burning unit in the North East. Animal Health issues, including cross border movement of litter and protection against diseases existing in Northern Ireland were strongly debated.
“The absence of any education programme and lack of Teagasc support for the Poultry Industry was highlighted and the issue of retail representation on the Poultry Council was also raised. It was felt from the floor that any funding to improve facilities should be handled in such a way as to avoid the kind of cost inflation which occurred in previous farm schemes," said Ms Harkin.
Ms Harkin committed to follow up at European level the issue of antibiotic usage to help ensure that, for the future, poultry meat can remain a safe and nutritious product.
"I also committed to organising a further meeting to monitor progress on accessing Pillar 2 funding and I urged the various organisations represented on the Poultry Council to make the earliest possible representations for funding from the common Agricultural Policy," she said.