Irish egg producers to get cage ban funding

Irish egg producers have welcomed €16m (£13.8m) of government aid to help them meet the costs of complying with the 2012 conventional cage ban.

The EU laying hens directive is forcing egg producers to rip out existing cages – many of which have several years of life left in them – and replace them with alternative systems, such as barn, enriched-colony or free-range.

The Irish Egg Association welcomed the announcement by Brendan Smith, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to allocate this money.

He said the funding would come from a new €113m (£97.6m) targeted scheme for on-farm investment to support a number of specific categories of farmers and was focused on supporting productive investment.

“We welcome this announcement and the funding is vital to help secure the future of the Irish egg industry,” said John Mohan, chairman of the Irish Egg Association.

He estimated that Irish egg producers need to invest at least €40m (£34.5m) to convert to the new enriched cage system.

Converting to the system would require major investment, which was vital if Ireland was to keep its egg industry and ensure a supply of home-produced eggs, he said.

“Irish people want to eat Irish eggs and the industry faces significant funding challenges for the future to meet the needs of the new EU legislation,” he continued.

“This is a welcome vote of confidence in the Irish egg sector from the minister and will make a significant contribution to assist in the modernisation of the sector. It will assist in helping the industry meet the new welfare requirements and continue to supply the Irish consumer with the best quality eggs that offer great value for money.”

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