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As part of the recent October budget, a provision was made for a horticultural grants scheme for 2019. This scheme is a significant support to growers and producers who are planning capital investments. There is a very much welcomed additional €1m in funding for the horticulture National Development Plan scheme in 2019, bringing the total provision for a sector particularly challenged by Brexit to €6 million. At the time of writing, communication from DAFM is that the scheme will be launched shortly, with a probable closing date in mid-December 2018. Approved investments should be completed no later than 29 September 2019 for larger capital investments that need to be staggered over a longer period. You are advised to avail of the additional year of approval period, which permits an extended period to carry out works up to September 2020. This option should be applied for at the time of application. It is likely that the overall aims of the scheme will not differ from last year, but you should read the terms and conditions and application form when released to ensure your proposed investment fits the scheme. Please contact your Teagasc adviser for assistance in completing the application process.

Some key points:

  • Remember, planning permission is now a requirement for all building projects. Previously it was enough to have applied for permission. Now a grant of permission is a condition of approval so this should be in place at time of application, as was the case last year.
  • It is worth remembering that the scheme is a competitive scheme. All eligible items may not necessarily attract investment aid or may attract reduced aid in certain instances.
  • Quotations should be recent and need a signature (electronic signature is acceptable).
  • Ensure that quotation has adequate information to describe the proposed investment and that VAT is clearly itemised.
  • Please consider the priority order of investments, if multiple items are being requested.
  • Please ensure that the proposed investment or equipment is horticulture specific.
  • Under no circumstances will late applications be accepted by DAFM so contact your Teagasc adviser as early as possible if you require assistance. ✽