Ireland invests millions in horticulture industry

Andrew Doyle T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for Horticulture, announced the opening of the 2018 Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector.

Launching the Scheme Minister Doyle said “I am delighted to announce the opening of the Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector for 2018. An increased annual budget of €5m for the Scheme has been retained reflecting this Government's ongoing commitment to the sector. The competitive nature of the scheme combined with the scheme’s flexibility and ability to react to evolving situations are two key strengths in supporting this highly dynamic sector.”

The Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector is open to all horticultural sectors – field vegetables, mushrooms, protected food crops, amenity crops, soft fruit, apples and beekeeping and will provide grant aid, at a rate of 40%, for approved capital investments undertaken by 28th September 2018. The Closing date for receipt of applications is 19th December 2017.

In 2016, Ireland’s horticulture sector contributed over €430m to the value of output at farm-gate level and is estimated to be directly responsible for over 6,600 jobs with many more employed indirectly both upstream and downstream. The sector has strong potential for growth; notwithstanding recent challenges in the amenity sector caused by storm Ophelia.

The Minister also stated that, “The SBCI Loan Scheme” launched in last year’s budget was a great success and a number of horticultural businesses have benefited from these low interest loans. As part of the recent Budget €25 million has been secured to facilitate the development of a new Brexit response loan scheme for farmers, fishermen and food businesses in 2018 and further details will be announced in due course.”

The Minister concluded by saying “The timely launch of the 2018 Horticulture Investment Scheme represents both a recognition of this most recent challenge to the sector but is also a clear signal of my continued support for, and commitment to its ongoing development.

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