The Horticultural Industry Forum (HIF) met today with the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for Horticulture, Senator Pippa Hackett.

After co-chairing the meeting, which discussed ways to progress key issues within the industry,  Minister Hackett said, “This is a sector with huge potential and today was a welcome opportunity to look at important areas for its development, including grower collaboration, research and development, market opportunities and public policy.  Such development will take effort and commitment, which is why I was happy to secure a substantially increased budget allocation for horticulture for 2021.  The 50% budget increase for the scheme of investment aid for the development of the commercial horticulture sector, to €9 million, highlights my commitment to this sector and signals clearly that we are supporting its ongoing expansion and development.”

The Horticulture Industry Forum (HIF) was formed in 2014 as an umbrella organisation, for growers of Irish produce, to address challenges and highlight opportunities for the industry. HIF brings together the broad elements of the Horticulture Sector including Field Vegetables, Protected Crops, Soft Fruit and Top Fruit, Mushrooms, Amenity, and Potatoes.

Referring further to the opportunities for the sector, the Minister concluded,  “There is scope for researching and developing homegrown, plant-based, produce and products so I am really keen to work with this industry in delivering on its potential.  Whilst there are challenges related to Covid and Brexit, I believe it is resilient enough to work through these and to exploit the opportunities ahead.  Today’s meeting provided much evidence of the Forum’s strong focus on their ambition. I really welcome that.”