Yesterday, the Minister with responsibility for horticulture Pippa Hackett published the KPMG report into the opportunities for the Irish horticultural sector. I welcome the publishing of the report and especially the findings and action points for government in it in relation to horticultural peat as a growing medium. – Fine Gael Senator Regina Doherty has said.
‘’It has been over six months since several government departments and ministers came out with a response and a list of key measures to tackle the crisis in relation to supply of peat for horticultural use. On the day of the announcement in January, the working group report was also published which states very clear recommendations to the government to solve this issue. Six months on, we have another report telling us what we have already know for some time now. said the Senator for Dublin Fingal.
‘’The government’s list of key measures last January has not led to one extra shovel full of peat being extracted to supply the horticultural sector. Yesterday’s KPMG report clearly states ‘’develop mechanisms to sustainably use domestic peat supplies, especially in the context of current geopolitical events’’ – It doesn’t get any clearer than that. – The Leader of Seanad Éireann added.
‘’The time for reports, surveys, working groups and ineffective measures has now passed, it’s now time for the relevant ministers to draft, debate and enact primary legislation to allow for Irish peat, to be extracted from Irish bogs, to supply the green and sustainable Irish horticultural industry.
‘’Last week I invited Minister Simon Coveney to Sunglow Nurseries in Lusk to see firsthand, state-of-the-art glasshouses and packaging facilities. The minister, although not being in the dept of agriculture has a keen insight and interest in the food industry and will work with me, my Fine Gael colleagues, the IFA, Growing Media Ireland, and growers to find a solution so we can get this sorted once and for all and allow for the expansion of the horticultural sector.
Until an alternative to peat is widely available, affordable, and sustainable then this industry is in jeopardy. The number one threat in this KPMG report is the need for an adequate supply of domestic peat in the future for growers.
‘’I will continue to work with government and stakeholders so growers can have clarity in what is the primary raw material for many horticultural growers’’ concluded Senator Doherty.