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Minister Smith Visits North Tipperary Agri-Food Companies

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, is today visiting two major agri-food companies in North Tipperary - Arrabawn Co-Op in Nenagh and Rosderra Meats in Roscrea.

Arrabawn Co-Op is among the companies which are benefiting from the Government's €114 million Dairy Investment Fund, which is supporting 19 capital investment projects and is focused on improving the efficiency and of the main dairy outputs by supporting the upgrading of existing plant and buildings to capture new business and/or develop new added value products.

In Arrabawn's case, the grant of €6.84 million supported the development of a €17.1 million Whey, SMP and Butter projects, which will enable the company to expand its portfolio of dairy products, as well as entering new market sectors because of the improved quality of its existing products.

Rosderra Irish Meats Group is Ireland's largest producer of pigmeat, accounting for approximately 50 per cent of the Irish pigmeat industry, of which two-thirds is exported throughout the world. The Roscrea plant is involved in pig slaughtering as well as pork and bacon processing.

The Minister said that he was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to meet with the respective senior management teams and board members. Minister Smith said that "both companies are integral parts of the economy of North Tipperary and beyond and demonstrate the value and contribution that the agri-food sector has to make to both the local and national economies. Both companies are committed to the highest standards of quality and efficiency and are rightly regarded as leaders in their respective sectors."

The Minister also acknowledged that "the past year or so has been a particularly difficult time for both the dairy and pigmeat sectors. I have been consistent in my support for both sectors and I have committed myself to continuing to provide that support. On the dairy front, I have been to the forefront in pressing the EU Commission to use market management mechanisms in the most effective manner possible to support the price being paid to producers. In relation to the pig industry, the Government has provided support to the sector through investment schemes while the prompt manner in which the Government responded to the dioxin problem last December allowed for the resumption of slaughtering within a few days and set us on the path to recovery. This included putting in place the financial facility to assist the recall and disposal of affected products and animals. I am also continuing to seek the introduction of export refunds for pork in recognition of the poor market situation."

The Minister concluded by saying that "we are extremely fortunate in this country to have top-class primary producers as well as processors of the quality of Arrabawn and Rosderra, producing such high-quality food. It is particularly important that the quality and safety of such food products is fairly reflected in the price paid by retailers to the processors and primary producers."

Date Released: 29 October 2009