Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 2 July 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Animal Health Levies (Pigs) Regulations 2019: Motion
I thank the Minister and his officials for this briefing on the proposed animal heath levy on the pig industry. The levy will be 4 cent per animal. I read in other documentation that a larger levy of 10 cent or 12 cent per animal was mentioned. Was that a previous proposal? With respect to the proposed levy before us, I assume the key objective in introducing it to ensure the sector continues to maintain a disease-free status. Many of our competitors throughout the world have issues with disease and that inhibits the marketability of their product. It is proposed this levy will be placed on each pig which will generate the contribution from the industry. What will be the Government's contribution to the work involved and the research? Is there scope to expand our pigmeat industry? It has gone through a difficult time in recent years. Many farmers involved in the industry thought hard about whether they should continue in the business but the sector is doing well at present. We need to build a sustainable future for the pig industry. While we recognise much of it is related to scale, we need to explore if there are opportunities for new entrants to that industry. If it is run properly, I believe it has big potential for expansion, particularly given that many of our competitors have not been able to achieve the disease-free status we have in Ireland. I welcome the concept of what we are trying to achieve. The quantity of pigmeat we export is a reflection of the good work that has been done in the past, particularly by an industry that has been innovative and has been focused on delivering a high-quality product. Anything that can drive that forward further is welcome and from that point of view I welcome the concept of what has been proposed. I would like the Minister to clear up those few matters I raised.