Irish government encourages grower collaboration

The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine hosted an information meeting to encourage growers to actively consider participating in the EU Fruit and Vegetable Producer Organisation Scheme.

With only two fruit and vegetable Producer Organisations based in Ireland there is significant scope to increase scheme participation if growers are willing to work together.

Speaking at the meeting, the Minister of State with special responsibility for Horticulture, Andrew Doyle T.D., outlined how new EU legislation was introduced last year bringing greater clarity to what is required and permitted under the Scheme. The Minister also outlined how Ireland’s National Strategy for Producer Organisations had been revised to reflect evolving industry needs as well as the new legislation.

Minister Doyle said “The Producer Organisation option should be explored and actively considered by every grower given EU Aid is potentially available to the value of just over 4% of their fruit and vegetable sales.” The Minister also outlined that “all payments under the Producer Organisation Scheme for fruit and vegetables have been completed for 2016. A partial payment for 2017 has also been completed, providing government support for a sector that has been adversely affected by Brexit.”

Pointing to the current shortage of labour being experienced by many horticulture sub-sectors the Minister highlighted a practical example of how the PO Scheme can assist by providing aid for actions to support labour retention and recruitment through supporting LEAN processes and training in human resources. This is just one of a suite of measures available to growers under the Scheme to support them in improving the quality of their output, better align their production with consumer demand, reduce their production costs and improve the environmental sustainability of their business.

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