The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, recently announced funding of €E0.93m in grant aid to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) and Sheep Ireland to support improvements in the breeding of cattle and sheep in 2011.
ICBF will receive €E730,000 for beef and dairy cattle breeding, while Sheep Ireland will receive €E200,000. This funding is additional to the €E1.5 million support to ICBF and Sheep Ireland in 2011 under the National Development Plan towards specific projects geared towards the improvement of beef, dairy and sheep breeding.
Minister Coveney said this “announcement is further evidence, that despite budgetary pressures, the Government remains committed to the Agrifood sector and to supporting future growth in the livestock sector, which through the generation of high value sustainable output has a key role to play in economic recovery. ICBF, which is now recognised as a world leader in cattle breeding, has consistently improved the quality of genetic evaluations of dairy and beef cattle and helped drive profitability of these export led industries. Science based breed improvement is a critical factor in achieving ambitious targets outlined in Food Harvest 2020 for the livestock sector”.
The Minister commented “Strong global demand for dairy and meat products combined with increased consumer food prices as the global economy returns to growth has been positive for Irish exports. The value of Irish food and drink exports for 2011 is set to grow by more than €600 million for the second consecutive year, with exports up 13% to date in 2011”.
He also added “I am happy with the progress made by Sheep Ireland in its first two years of operations. The central database and data collection systems have been set up, along with breeding programmes to identify the best terminal and maternal sheep to breed from”.
The Minister concluded: “I would also like to pay tribute to and acknowledge the contribution all stakeholders in the Industry make to helping ICBF achieve its goals. It is this unique co-operation that allows such rapid progress in breeding to be achieved”.