Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
379. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the funding available for Food Dudes and Incredible Edibles; the funding that has been available for these schemes in each year since they started; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17686/21]
As the Deputy will be aware, the EU School Fruit and Vegetables scheme, the main objective of which is to promote the consumption of fruit and vegetables amongst school children, is implemented in primary schools under the Food Dudes Healthy Eating Programme. The Programme is an evidence based, incentivised healthy eating programme which is rolled out to children over three years: Year 1 is based on a 16 day intervention programme followed up by maintenance programmes in Years 2 and 3 and is underpinned by strong accompanying educational measures. It is managed by Bord Bia and has the support of a wide range of national stakeholders including the Department of Health, the Department of Education and the Department of Social Protection.
The Programme is funded annually by the EU Commission with supporting national funding from my Department's budget as available. The total EU budget for the scheme, in the period 2017-2023, is €250 million per school year of which up to €150 million is for fruit and vegetables and up to €100 million for milk. This budget is broken down by country based on the number of children, the level of regional development and, for milk, on how the budget was previously used.
The Commission adopts a decision to fix the EU budget by country for each school year. The annual EU allocation to Ireland is set by the European Commission at €1.7million, However it is open to Ireland to apply for additional Union aid under EU reallocation rules which may or may not be granted by the EU Commission as this is subject to availability. Within this allocation to a Member State, 75% is available to spend on product and the balance is available for accompanying educational measures, publicity and evaluation.
The EU Scheme in its current format commenced in 2017 for school year 2017/2018. Ireland’s EU allocation for School Fruit and Vegetables, national funds, and participation rates during this time period is as set out at the following link:
With regard to the Incredible Edibles initiative, this is not a Department Scheme. The initiative is a brand name of a programme run by Agri-Aware, a private Irish agri-food educational body. It is established as a charitable trust funded by the Irish farming and agri-food industry and is sponsored by a number of number of private and public organisations including my Department and State Bodies under my remit.