There is considerable potential for development of horticulture, both though increasing production and by adding more value to existing produce. Opportunities exist to replace imports of fruit and vegetables and increase exports of nursery stock and cut foliage as well as adding value at all levels. The horticultural sector contributes over €360 million to agricultural output at farm-gate level and provides over 6,000 jobs in the production sector. In addition the amenity services sector has a value of over €2 billion and employs an estimated 12,700 people. Further development of the horticulture sector could help to get more people back to work.
Teagasc horticulture programme manager Jim O Mahony said: “Responding to the unprecedented demand for information on horticulture, Teagasc has organised a series of horticulture courses to run during the spring. These will cover the vegetable and potato sectors, fruit, mushrooms, cut foliage and floristry, turf grass, nursery stock, landscape design, and protected crops. The courses include practical sessions in the afternoon.”
Two one-day ‘Introduction to Horticulture’ courses are being held on Monday, 28 February at Teagasc Kildalton, Co. Kilkenny and onTuesday, 1 March at Teagasc, Kinsealy, Co. Dublin. These one-day courses will provide participants with a detailed description of the horticultural sector and its potential for offering employment and further education opportunities. There will also be an opportunity to explore the range of horticultural activities underway at Kildalton and Kinsealy.
Following these courses, a 36 hour ‘Fruit and Vegetable Production’ course is planned and will take place at Teagasc Kildalton College, Co. Kilkenny, commencing on Thursday, 24 March. This course will run for one day a week for six weeks. It will offer more detailed information on fruit and vegetable production on a commercial scale with an eye on supplying local markets. It’s aimed at those individuals wishing to develop small commercial enterprises in this area
Additionally, there will be a six-week (36 hour) ‘Amenity’ course held at Teagasc Kinsealy, Co. Dublin. This course will address the skills and requirements for working in, or running small amenity businesses.
These courses are organised by the Teagasc Horticulture Development Department along with the horticultural colleges.
For further information on these courses, visit http://www.teagasc.ie/horticulture/ or contact Teagasc Kildalton on 051 644400, or Teagasc Kinsealy on 01 8459000.