Written answers

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Horticulture Sector

Photo of Marian HarkinMarian Harkin (Sligo-Leitrim, Independent)
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597. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will establish Just Transition supports to protect jobs and businesses in the horticulture sector into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37989/21]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine provides a support to the horticulture industry through the Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Horticulture Sector. Financial support is available to assist growers and businesses through grant aid for capital investments in specialised plant and equipment including renewable energy, as well as technology adoption specific to commercial horticulture production.

A 50% budget increase to €9 million has been secured for 2021 reflecting the importance of the sector.  This Scheme is 100% funded by the Irish Government. In addition, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine administers the EU Producer Organisation Scheme for Fruit and Vegetables which allows growers jointly market their production in order to strengthen the position of producers in the marketplace.

In relation to Just Transition supports, on 7th September 2020, Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, published a report on the review of the use of Peat Moss in the Horticultural Industry. After the publication of this report, Minister Noonan established a working group that includes representatives from relevant Government Departments and State Agencies, Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations and industry stakeholders under an independent chairperson to examine the issues identified during the review.  

In this respect, the working group is addressing the key issues raised in the report itself, including the future use of peat by the horticulture sector and how the transition from peat to viable alternatives can be supported. The independent working group sent an interim report to Minister Noonan at the end of May. One area for consideration is the use of Just Transition supports for the horticulture sector. Minister Noonan and his officials are currently examining the report.


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