Ireland has asked the European Commission to extend the deadline for the conversion to sow group housing. Despite the European deadline of January 1, 2013, the Irish hope to be allowed to finish completion by September.
In Irish parliament, Simon Coveney, minister for Agriculture, the Marine and Food, explaine the nature of his request when speaking about the Irish Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) for sow welfare, introduced in June 2010.
He said, “The initial deadline for the receipt of applications has been extended from June to 31 October 2012 and DAFM has applied to the European Commission for permission to extend the deadline for completion of the work under the current programme to the end of September 2013.”
Under TAMS, grant-aid is available at a rate of 40% to eligible producers with a maximum investment ceiling of €300,000, i.e. a maximum grant of €120,000. A total of €13 million has been set aside under this scheme. It follows two earlier schemes in 2005 and 2007 which made payments of €6.2 million to 63 applicants.
At present, more than 50 applications for grants worth approximately €4 million have been received under the current scheme. Applications must be accompanied by either full planning permission or a declaration of exemption from planning.
Coveney continued to say: “Through the efforts of industry operators, and with the assistance of my department, Ireland was compliant with the new enriched cage system by the January deadline and an audit visit by the Food and Veterinary Office in early March confirmed this.”
In Ireland, the pig sector remains the third largest individual component of the agri-food sector, with production, prices and exports all growing significantly during 2011.
• Irish Department of Agriculture, the Marine and Food