Minister Cuffe Announces 2011 Grant Aid Scheme for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector

Source: Donall Flanagan, Teagasc

Ciaran Cuffe TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with special responsibility for Horticulture, announced details of the fourth 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 Friday 18th February 2011 and only investments commenced after the issue of letters of approval will be eligible for aid.

This aid, which is set at 40% (50% in the case of young farmers) of total eligible capital investment, will fund projects in commercial horticulture undertaken during 2011. The scheme covers all horticultural sectors – protected crops, nursery crops, field vegetables, soft fruit, apples, beekeeping and, mushrooms.

The Scheme is aimed at assisting growers to efficiently produce high quality products to meet the increasing demands of a very competitive market. It will also contribute to increasing Irish fruit and vegetable consumption towards the recommended target of 5-a-day as part of a healthy diet.

The Minister referred “to the continual need for the industry to adapt its production methods, both to minimise environmental effects and to benefit from adopting newer technologies”. The Minister was pleased to note “that this scheme includes provision for increasing the uptake of green technologies, including water recycling, generating energy from waste and innovations based on plant production”.

In addition, and in line with the recommendations of the Harvest 2020 report, the scheme, he said“would provide funding for specialised equipment and capital investments aimed at improving production structures, energy conservation, improved hygiene, environmental standards, labour productivity and working conditions, as well as improved overall efficiency of production”.