New fund to support the horticultural industry
Wicklow-based horticultural companies can apply for a new € 9 million program to encourage sustainable and environmentally friendly working practices.
he Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine in charge of Horticulture, Senator Pippa Hackett, recently announced the opening of the 2022 investment aid program for the development of the commercial horticulture sector.
Giving details of the competitive regime, which is open to all horticultural sectors, and which will provide capital assistance at a rate of up to 40 percent to all approved investments, the minister said: “ I am delighted that the 50 percent increase in funding obtained in 2021 has been maintained for 2022. This scheme helps not only existing growers but also new entrants into horticulture. With eligible young farmers receiving up to 50 percent in grants, the program is also there to support the next generation of farmers.
The scheme, which covers all horticultural areas, including field vegetables, mushrooms, protected food crops, hobby crops, berries and apples, up to beekeeping, aims to facilitate environmentally friendly practices, promote diversification of farm activities, improve product quality and improve working conditions.
“This program is 100% funded by the Irish government and the € 9 million of ongoing funding demonstrates the government’s commitment to the sector in addressing the challenges it faces, but also in recognizing the many opportunities for the sector. in the future, including, for example, opportunities to replace imports with locally grown fruits and vegetables. I have seen first-hand how horticultural producers in Ireland have adopted new technologies to improve sustainability and facilitate environmentally friendly practices and this program further supports those efforts, ”added the Minister.
The Irish horticultural sector generated output with a farm gate value of almost € 469 million in 2020, with around 6,600 people employed full-time in the primary production activity and a further 11,000 employed in companies value-added and downstream.
The Agriculture Ministry said the capital grant program will accept applications until Friday, December 17.