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Minister McEntee Announces Funding for the 2012 Grant Aid Scheme for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector

Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for Horticulture, today announced details of the fifth round of the Grant Aid Scheme for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector under the National Development Plan (2007-2013).

The closing date for receipt of applications is 10th February 2012 and only investments commenced after the issue of letters of approval will be eligible for aid.

This aid, which is set at 40% (50% in the case of young farmers) of total eligible capital investment, will fund projects in commercial horticulture undertaken during 2012. The Minister was pleased to announce "that the Scheme provided for a lower minimum investment level of €4,000 for applicants under the age of 35".

The scheme covers all horticultural sectors - protected crops, nursery crops, field vegetables, soft fruit, apples, beekeeping and, mushrooms.

The Scheme is aimed at assisting growers to efficiently produce high quality products to meet the increasing demands of a very competitive market. It will also contribute to increasing Irish fruit and vegetable consumption towards the recommended target of 5-a-day as part of a healthy diet.

The Minister was pleased "that despite the Government's financial difficulties he was still able to provide significant funding for Horticulture". The Minister also referred "to the continual need for the industry to invest in order to compete with imports and to be able to offer the wholesale and retail sectors high quality and competitively priced product".

In addition, and in line with the recommendations of the Harvest 2020 report and the Horticultural Action Group Report, the scheme, he said "would help boost production from this important sector of the agricultural industry and would contribute towards innovation and modernisation of production facilities".

Details of the scheme and application forms can be obtained from Crop Policy, Production and Safety Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Administration Building, Backweston Campus, Young’s Cross, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, (01) 5058886 or at  http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmerschemespayments/horticultureschemes/ 

Date Released: 06 January 2012