Dáil Éireann - Volume 556 - 07 November, 2002

Written Answers. - Grain Production.

  113. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the degree of expansion or reduction in grain growing in the past five years; his plans for the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20996/02]

  Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): Production of cereals in Ireland has averaged about 2 million tonnes in recent years, with fluctuations in production mainly attributable to weather conditions. The following are production figures over the past five years: 1998: 1.865 million tonnes; 1999: 2.011 million tonnes; 2000: 2.227 million tonnes; 2001: 2.018 million tonnes; 2002: 1.980 million tonnes. I am satisfied that, subject to weather conditions, production will continue at the 2 million tonne average. I am conscious of the importance of arable area payments to cereal growers' incomes and it is my intention, in the context of negotiations on the EU Common Agricultural Policy, to ensure that these payments are protected.