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Minister announces €5M allocated to Horticulture Sector Projects

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, with special responsibility for Horticulture, Tom Hayes TD, today announced that €5 million in funding has been awarded to successful projects under the 2014 Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector. 

The grant aid covers all areas of the horticultural industry; field vegetables, mushrooms, protected crops, nursery crops, soft fruit/apples, cut foliage, Christmas trees, bulbs and bee-keeping, and will support investments in specialist equipment and buildings by 163 commercial horticulture producers amounting to approximately €13 million between now and the end of the year.

The objectives of the Scheme are to facilitate environmentally friendly practices, to promote the diversification of on-farm activities, to improve the quality of products and to improve working conditions in the sector. 

Announcing details of the grants awarded, Minister Hayes said that “since coming to Office last summer, I have been struck by the levels of efficiency, market focus and skill employed by Irish horticultural growers across all strands of this very competitive industry.” 

Emphasising the economic importance of the horticulture sector which contributes €300m to the economy, the Minister continued “Notwithstanding the challenges faced, the Irish horticultural sector has great potential for growth, both from a production capacity and an improved competitiveness perspective. 

The Minister notedthat this is a competitive grant aid scheme, the available funding has been targeted at those growers with the best potential for growth and competitiveness in accordance with the Food Harvest 2020 recommendations.

In response to an application from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the European Commission has recently granted State Aid approval for the Scheme.   Welcoming this approval, Minister Hayes concluded by saying “It is essential for Ireland’s economic recovery that the Government continues to support this dynamic sector to achieve its full potential. 

To view this Press Release as a PDF - click here:  DAFMPR 75/14 (pdf 728Kb) 

Date Released: 21 May 2014