IFA Fruit and Vegetable Chair Niall McCormack is calling on the Minister for Agriculture to use EU agriculture reserve funding to provide urgent support for the Irish horticulture sector.
“Our sector has been in disarray for a long time now and unfortunately, we are continuing to lose growers from the industry. Input costs have not abated and now weather conditions are extremely difficult for outdoor winter crops in particular, yield reductions and crop losses are inevitable,” Niall McCormack said.
“The EU Commission has provisionally allocated Ireland with €9.5m of funding from the agricultural reserve. These funds are earmarked to support sectors impacted by adverse weather, high input costs and market-related issues. The horticulture sector is taking a hit by each measure,” he said.
“We are in a similar situation to last year where growers will not have the confidence to plan for next season,” he added.
“The Commission also granted Member States the scope to complement agricultural reserve funding with 200% funding from the National Exchequer. The Minister must leverage off this and ensure any exceptional aid is topped up with additional funding in the forthcoming Budget,” the IFA Fruit and Vegetable Chair said.
“There is no doubt that exceptional aid is necessary for some sectors in 2023. Anyone involved in the production horticulture or tillage crops has been particularly affected. Without support we are going to see a further loss of horticulture growers,” he concluded.