IFA Poultry Chair Nigel Sweetnam said the lack of advisers within Teagasc for the poultry sector is something that has to be rectified.
“Poultry accounts for 46% of meat consumption in this country, yet our main research agency has only one dedicated adviser for poultry. This is far short of what’s available for other meats, which make up only a little more of overall consumption,” he said.
“I raised this with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar when he attended our AGM in January and he expressed his surprise that such an imbalance existed,” Nigel Sweetnam said.
The IFA Poultry Chair said growers need access to more expertise if they are to continue to maintain the highest levels of flock health and to produce to world-class standards for consumers.
“The sector is facing several challenges, including disease outbreaks, food safety concerns and sustainability issues. These can only be tackled through scientific research that helps identify best practice, improves animal welfare, and reduces environmental impacts. We need a robust research programme that will enable us to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for the poultry sector,” he said.
Nigel Sweetnam said Government support is needed to fund research, which will enable us to keep up with the latest technological advances and innovations in the sector. “We need to have a dedicated facility with adequate resources to conduct research, develop strategies, and provide solutions for the poultry sector,” he said.
IFA will be raising this matter with Teagasc to see how the resources available to the poultry sector can be expanded to reflect the amount of shelf space that it occupies.