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Minister Smith announces aid of €3.5 million to producer organisations for fruit and vegetables

Mr. Brendan Smith TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, with special responsibility for Horticulture today announced the payment of EU aid amounting to €3.4m to six Producer Organisations in the fruit and vegetable sector. The sector, which had a farm output value of €223m in 2005, plays a very significant role in the rural and national economy.

Producer Organisations, which are established under Community rules, qualify for EU aid by running approved programmes designed to improve product quality and to match supply with demand. The regime promotes the concentration of supply which in turn helps to reduce production costs and to stabilise producer prices. Some €2.9m of the aid was payable to two Producer Organisations specialising in the production of mushrooms while the balance was payable to four organisations producing a mixture of fruit and vegetables. The mushroom producer organisations also include growers in Northern Ireland and the UK.

Minister Smith said that the last extensive reform of EU support for the fruit and vegetable sector in 1996 established producer organisations as the cornerstone of the common organisation of the market. Aid for short-term market intervention was progressively reduced and a wider range of aid was made available to producer organisations to improve their competitiveness and develop their capacity to adapt to market demand. Further proposals for reform of the EU support structure for this sector are due to be published shortly. Minister Smith said that he would be endeavouring in the negotiations of the reform to have the PO regime as flexible as possible to attract the widest possible number of growers. "Producer Organisations give growers a combined power to produce and sell their product in a very competitive market environment" concluded Minister Smith.

 

PRODUCER ORGANISATION ADDRESS
     
Commercial Mushroom Producers Co-op Society Ltd 29 Market Street, Monaghan 2,539,390
Dewfresh Mushroom PO Ltd Rathfeigh Farm, Loughlanstown, Tara, Co Meath 325,195
DMG Producer Group Ltd Broughan, Kilshane Cross,
The Ward, Co Dublin
225,461
Meitheal Ur Teoranta Producer Organisation Ltd Roslin Food Park, St Margarets,
Co Dublin
140,387
Quality Green Producer Organisation Ltd Ballinamona, Campile,
New Ross, Co Wexford
104,099
Wexford Fruit Producers Ltd Ballymackessy, Clonroche,
Co Wexford
51,545

20 October, 2006

Date Released: 20 October 2006