A new funding package, worth €2.38 million, will guarantee the short-term security and long-term viability of horticultural growers, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Regina Doherty said: “Over the past number of years I have consistently supported the Irish horticultural industry through what has been a very difficult time for the sector and have worked with my party colleague Minister Martin Heydon on this.
“My own area of North County Dublin has an abundance of horticultural growers and it’s something we are very proud of, but many of them have questioned the very survival of their livelihoods in the absence of a ‘lifeline’ from Government.
“I have been asking for a comprehensive package to follow the once-off Horticulture Exceptional Payment Scheme (HEPS), which despite being a welcome measure at the time, did not go far enough.
“Back in March, for example, I asked for specific supports for our horticultural growers in the sectors most at risk, including commercial growers of mushrooms, field vegetables, apples, and high-wire crops.
“That’s why I am very pleased with the announcement that the horticultural subsectors included in this new support package will include high-wire glasshouse-grown tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, brown mushrooms, most field vegetables, field-grown salad crops, energy-reliant protected crops like strawberries, and apples.
“Irish horticulture has a future. Government has published a National Horticulture Strategy to protect the long-term viability of the sector, and that has now been complimented by much needed and long-awaited financial supports for growers. Actions speak louder than words, and that’s why I am happy that payments will be made to eligible applicants as soon as January 2024”.