The Irish maize industry had only four weeks to prepare for the maize plastics ban, which came into effect on 3 July under the single use plastics directive, Robert Shine, managing director of Samco, has said.
This is because guidelines on the directive were only issued on 31 May 2021, Shine said.
He told the Irish Farmers Journal that because the plastic is only used once a year, it requires more than a few months to develop and test new technologies, not to mind the short number of weeks the industry has been given.
“With the plastic coffee cups and other single use plastic products they can develop and trial every day replacement products but this is not the case with agricultural products.
“While these industries have had years to prepare and source alternatives, the maize industry has had weeks.
“This must be realised by the Irish Government and allow the industry time to change and adapt,” Shine said.
“Otherwise, give compensation financially to the industry which has invested both financially and personally in this industry over the years for equipment and specialised planting machinery,” he said.
Shine said the use of this equipment “has been rendered obsolete now by the sudden implementation of the directive”.
“Those involved in the industry would rather time to allow it to find alternatives and adjust rather than compensation and a sudden finishing of the industry like the beet industry had in the country.
“The benefits of growing and feeding maize in Ireland have been well documented over the years and the industry is fully willing to work with the Department of the Environment and also Agriculture on other alternatives so that we can meet the standards required,” he said.
Some 80% of Samco’s turnover comes from the sale of maize film and the remainder from maize equipment, he said, adding that Samco’s 60 staff plus sub-contractors face an uncertain time.