Thursday, 9 December 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
19. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the wool feasibility study; when the final report will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [60285/21]
As the Deputy is aware, a review of the potential demand for wool-based products such as for insulation and fertilisers in domestic and international markets is included in the Programme for Government.
Following the €100,000 commitment in Budget 2021, I initiated a public consultation in March 2021 to identify the review's terms of reference, which included:
- identification of market opportunities domestically and internationally for wool based products;
- carrying out economic feasibility and cost benefit analysis on proposed market opportunities;
- determining mechanisms that could be used to support industry initiatives;
- identification of potential research projects applicable to supporting the identified market opportunities.
As part of the public consultation process, I also requested stakeholders to submit recommendations on prospective market opportunities for wool products on the domestic and international markets. Forty five submissions was received.
The Request for Tenders (RFT) seeking service providers to carry out this study was published on 8thJuly, through a competitive public procurement procedure. Five tenders were received by 9thAugust. I'm pleased to advise that I have recently appointed 'The Agile Executive,' a consortium of experts from Munster Technological University and Donegal Yarns, to conduct this study.
The Agile Executive has been contracted to conduct the review in accordance with the Terms of Reference, and have been asked to review the submissions received during the public consultation process. The report is due for publication in March 2022, and I am hopeful that the recommendations will assist in the formulation of a robust policy roadmap for the Irish wool industry.
Wool is a natural substance that is sustainable, organic, renewable, and may be used in a range of products such as textiles, fertilizers, and insulation. There are approximately 46,332 flock-keepers and 50 approved and registered wool stores registered with the Department, making it an important component of the agri-food sector.