Fine Gael Agriculture Spokesman, Michael Creed TD, today (Thursday) raised in the Dáil the financial situation of Cappoquin Chickens which is under examinership. Deputy Creed said spiralling input costs and competition from cheap imports, which can take advantage of flawed labelling laws, were eating into farm profits and threatening agri-sector jobs.This Government has adopted idiotic Green Party policy on the importation of GM feed
"200 people are employed at Cappoquin Chickens and for them the news that an interim examiner has been appointed will be devastating. The wider implications for the agri-food industry are alarming. "The Government has failed to heed warnings on the impact of rising feed costs on the poultry sector and it is now clear just how hard these costs are hitting agri-business. CSO figures this week showed all farm inputs increasing in cost, with feed up 20%.
"The fact is daft Government policy on the importation of GM feed, introduced as a sop to the Green Party, is costing the industry up to €160 million a year. The new Agriculture Minister will be keenly aware of the closure of Grove Turkeys in Monaghan just a few months ago and, with Cappoquin now in trouble, he must undo the damage done by his Government's GM policy shift.
"We are also seeing the real impact of quality Irish product being undermined by loopholes in our labelling laws. The 'substantial transformation' loophole allows produce which has had minimal processing in Ireland, like the addition of breadcrumbs, to be passed off as Irish. Coupled with mislabelling this means Irish produce and cheap imports are not competing on a level playing field.
"Fine Gael's campaign on labelling laws has fallen on deaf ears in Government so far but the plight of Cappoquin Chickens is a grim wake-up call. As well as the closure of the 'substantial transformation' loophole and the tightening and strict enforcement of existing labelling laws, Fine Gael wants to see the introduction of a Green Ireland label. This single, recognisable brand would help Ireland capitalise in overseas and domestic markets on its reputation as a green, healthy, quality food producer and help secure a premium price for Irish produce and Irish farmers."