Dáil Éireann - Volume 576 - 03 December, 2003

Written Answers. - Mushroom Industry.

  85. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the current farm-gate value of the mushroom industry; the future prospects for the industry arising from the supermarket price war in Britain and the strength of the euro; and the way in which his Department will be in a position to help with advice or in any practical respect. [29335/03]

  Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh):The value of mushroom production was almost €138 million in 2002. In 1980 mushroom output was valued at €10 million approximately, so last years figure demonstrates significant growth in the industry during a 20 year period.

  The sector is now facing many challenges including those relating to productivity, marketing, labour, investment, environment and the competitive position with other EU imports, into the UK market. There is strong competition in the British market and, accordingly, downward pressure on prices.

  In view of these challenges, a task force has been established to draw up a co-ordinated action plan with a view to securing the future viability of the sector. The members of the task force are drawn from areas involved in the mushroom supply chain, including the state agencies. We look forward to receiving this action plan next year.