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Minister Sargent Announces Grant Aid Scheme for Horticulture Growers 2010

Trevor Sargent, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, with special responsibility for Horticulture and Food today announced details of the third round of the grant aid scheme for the development of the horticulture sector under the National Development Plan (2007-2013).

The closing date for receipt of applications is 19th February 2010 and only investments commenced after the issue of letters of approval will be eligible.

This aid, which is set at 40% (50% in the case of young farmers) of total eligible capital investment, will fund projects in commercial horticultural production carried out during 2010. The scheme covers all horticultural sectors - protected crops, nursery crops, field vegetables, soft fruit, apples, beekeeping and in limited circumstances mushrooms - and is aimed at assisting growers to efficiently produce high quality products in what is now a very competitive market.

Minister Sargent said that horticultural output is valued at almost €300m at farm gate level and retail sales are of the order of €650m. "The importance of fruit and vegetables in a healthy diet is critical and we must do all we can to increase Irish fruit and vegetable consumption towards the recommended target of 5-a-day. There is a need for improved production structures and equipment for energy conservation, high standards of hygiene, environmental standards and working conditions as well as improved overall efficiency of production. These are essential to increase competitiveness, ensure more sustainable production and to assist growers in meeting the increasing demands of retail outlets in terms of production standards", Minister Sargent said.

The Minister said that there is also a need to sustain expertise within the sector and maintain production capacity to maximise production volume and food security. This will minimise our reliance on imports as well as the carbon footprint of our food.

Details of the scheme and application forms can be obtained from Crop Production and Safety Division, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Administration Building, Backweston Campus, Young's Cross, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, 01 5058801/5058797 or at  

Date Released: 19 January 2010