Due to the dreadful prices being experienced by farmers for their produce over the last number of years relative to input costs I wanted to try and find out how much the middleman is making, in this case the factories. Accounts and Margins are impossible to find, however the fact that qualification for this much trumpeted investment fund required processors to furnish the Dept. with audited accounts should enable the Minister to determine the fairness of the price being paid to Irish farmers for their beef and pork. I plan to continue on with regards to this issue.
To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the conditions that are in place in relation to profitability transparency of those companies that have received funding under the beef and sheep meat investment fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the implementation and moneys spent to date in 2010 on the beef and sheep meat investment fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 16th February, 2010.
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: (Brendan Smith)
I propose to take Questions 556 & 555 together.
The Beef and Sheepmeat Investment Fund supports investment in scale and efficiency in primary processing, and added value in further processing for retail, food service and manufacturing outlets. This is part of a strategy to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the industry. The selection of projects followed evaluation by an expert committee comprising members from Enterprise Ireland, my Department, Bord Bia, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, private industry and academia.
Applicants were requested to supply financial information including audited accounts for the previous two years, projected profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow statements for four years with the key assumptions used in drawing up the projections, and the financial data that formed part of the application form. Grant recipients are also required to submit annual audited accounts during the period of the grant agreement.
In all, 15 projects have been approved for grant assistance of over €69 million, contributing to total investment in the region of €168 million. Payments amounting to €8.4 million were made to four companies under the scheme in 2009. One payment of €69,300 has been made to-date in 2010 and provision has been made for expenditure of €12 million in the full year.