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IFA President Joe Healy has called on Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys and Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to move immediately to make changes to the pilot employment permit scheme which will address the rapidly worsening labour and skills shortages for dairy, horticulture, pigs and poultry farms.

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The weather this Winter and Spring was far more benign than 2017/2018. This gave overwintered crops a chance to compensate for the drought conditions which they experienced up to September 2018. The final yield of crops was probably better than what had been initially expected however overall average yields were reduced and growers incurred significant extra costs due to irrigation and other drought related expenditure.

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IFA President Joe Healy has called on consumers and retailers to support the Irish strawberry sector – a vital indigenous industry worth €47m at farm gate, with 57 growers producing over 8,000 tonnes annually.

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IFA President Joe Healy said the EU Commission’s announcement on greater price transparency as part of bringing greater fairness to the food chain is another important step in the campaign to give farmers a bigger share of the final consumer price.

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Commenting in advance of the official launch of the report from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on climate action, IFA Horticulture Chairman Paul Brophy, has welcomed the recommendations regarding the expansion of the Irish Horticulture sector.

Agreeing with the findings of the report the chairman said there are opportunities for import substitution and farm diversification by directing increased resources to the sector. “For example, the expansion of our apple sector would both benefit the economy form reducing imports while also contributing to carbon sequestration. However, as the report pointed out there is a lack of investment in this area including the absence of a full time Teagasc advisor which has stymied its development”, he said.

The chairman added, that if the Irish Horticulture sector is to benefit commercially from the trend towards more plant-based diets then the government must implement policies to create a robust and sustainable sector. “To date the government has failed in this regard with its refusal to regulate against unsustainable discounting and to appoint an independent retail regulator to police the grocery market”, he said.

Paul Brophy concluded by acknowledging the positive contribution of the ‘Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of The Commercial Horticulture Sector’ to the industry. “The scheme is essential for the continued development and competitiveness of Irish horticulture and must be continued indefinitely post 2019 with an increased budget allocation”, he said.


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