Minister McEntee sees bright future for the Irish Nursery Stock Industry
Minister Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine referred to a bright future for the nursery stock industry when speaking at their Conference today.
Teagasc with sponsorship from Bord Bia, Bord na Mona and National Agrochemical Distributors organised Ireland's National Nursery Stock Conference today in Mullingar.
The Irish Nursery Stock industry has suffered severely in recent years from the economic recession and the associate drop in demand for plants from the landscaping as well as construction sectors together with severe winter weather at both the start and the end of 2010. However for those that were present there was an air of confidence for the future as well as a degree of relieve that the Winter just gone was significantly milder with minimal plant loses.
Opening the conference, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Shane McEntee TD outlined his vision for the future of the industry. While acknowledging the nursery sector had suffered more over recent years than any other sector within the Irish horticulture industry he said that he "believes the industry has a bright future if growers can adapt to changed market conditions and work together to reduce costs".
The Minister expressed his disappointment that such a low proportion of the plants sold in Ireland at present are actually Irish. Pointing to a number of specific recommendations in Bord Bia's recently published Amenity Strategy, the Minister McEntee highlighted "the need to develop an inter-trading website to consolidate supplies from Irish nurseries to make purchasing Irish plants easier". The Minister also pointed to the Amenity Strategy target that by 2020, up to one third of the current value of Irish plant imports can be replaced with domestically produced plants while at the same time doubling the current value of Irish plant exports.
The Minister of State also outlined the work he put into obtaining sufficient funding to allow the Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector operate again in 2012. Referring to how this scheme has been so critical in facilitating capital investments for nurseries as well as other Irish horticulture producers over recent years, the Minister said "he would like to put on the record that he would also do his utmost to ensure the Scheme is protected into the future".
Date Released: 23 February 2012