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Coveney Welcomes EU Funding for Farmhouse Cheese and Mushroom Promotion - Congratulates Irish Trade Bodies

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D. has welcomed the EU Commission proposal to approve 50% funding for promotion campaigns drawn up by Irish farmhouse cheese and mushroom producers working with Bord Bia and partner bodies in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK.  The two programmes -   Discover Farmhouse Cheese and Just Add Mushrooms   -will run from 2013 to 2016.    “I am delighted to see that the farmhouse cheese sector has shown growth since last summer despite the economic austerity with a 43% sales boost since July 2011” said Minister Coveney “it shows what can be done when a sector makes a particular drive to boost itself on both the domestic market and export sales”.    

The Farmhouse Cheese promotion will focus on children and adolescents, girls aged 8 to 13, women and older people.  Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany will carry out similar actions.    The Irish programme will be run by Bord Bia with support from Cáis – the Irish Association of Farmhouse Cheesemakers . The programme has a total budget of €1.4m.  Minister Coveney added   “The Irish farmhouse  cheese sector is valued at more than €12 million in annual farmgate sales.   It is an example of the resilience and ambition of the Irish agri-food sector. I was particularly pleased that the 5th European Farmhouse and Artisan Cheesemakers Congress took place recently in UCC – a first for Ireland.  Sixty cheesemakers came from countries across Europe to share knowledge with their Irish counterparts, to initiate collaborations and to experience Ireland’s dairy sector in all its diversity”.

 The Mushroom programme - Just Add Mushrooms – involves Ireland and the UK and foresees expenditure of €2.7m in total over three years.  It aims to communicate the nutritional and culinary benefits of mushrooms to women aged 25-45 years and also health professionals, mass caterers and children in educational establishments.  In Ireland, the programme will be run by Bord Bia with support from the Mushroom Bureau, a body funded by the mushroom sector in the UK and Ireland. 

In all, 22 programmes promoting agricultural products in the EU and 3rd countries worth €71.94m (€36m from EU budget) were approved this week by the EU Commission. Minister Coveney highlighted that “A fund of €50m is made available annually to all Member States to participate in promoting our produce on the internal market and in third countries. We have very high standards of food safety, animal welfare and environmentally friendly production methods. These campaigns enable us to showcase these attributes on the European and world stage”.

Note to editors
This campaign is being implemented under EU Council Regulation 501/2008 on funding generic promotion and information programmes for agricultural products in the European Union.  .  Bord Bia worked with both trade bodies in the development of the mushroom and farmhouse cheese programmes and will manage them.

Date Released: 01 May 2013