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Coughlan announces Grant Aid for Seed Potato Sector

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today announced a grant aid programme for the development of the seed potato sector. The programme which comes under the National Development Plan will fund capital investment projects for specialised seed production in 2007/2008. A grant package of 40% (a maximum rate of 50% in the case of young farmers i.e. those under 35 years) applies under the scheme.

In making the announcement Minister Coughlan said that this years scheme follows on last years very successful scheme where 14 seed potato growers were approved funding for capital investments of over €2m.

The new funding is aimed at improving the production and marketing infrastructure of the seed potato sector through investments in equipment and facilities for the production, storage and marketing of seed potatoes. "My overall aim is to develop a competitive seed sector with strong linkages with ware growers to ensure that the potato industry continues to grow to its full potential," said the Minister.

Minister Coughlan said that a vibrant seed sector was critical for the future development of the whole potato industry which is worth around €80m for the 700 or so growers involved. "The need to protect our very high plant health status and exploit many of our natural advantages in addition to the outcomes of our publicly funded research programmes are key objectives in the overall plan for the sector," said the Minister.

The closing date for receipt of applications under the scheme is Friday, 24th August 2007.

Grant aid will not be considered for items purchased, or works commenced before the issue of letter of approval by the Department.

Details of the scheme and application forms can be obtained from Crop Production and Safety Division, Department of Agriculture and Food, Maynooth Business Campus, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Tel 01-5053344/5053328 or at http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/

27 July, 2007

Date Released: 27 July 2007