Replacing imported horticultural produce with Irish produce is a “necessity”, according to independent TD Michael McNamara. However, it will be difficult to do that “when carrots are for sale at 49c per bag.” The deputy said recently that there “has to be some correlation between the price at which products are sold and the cost of production.”
“I grew up in Clare and there was extensive market gardening in Kinvara, presumably supplying Galway mainly, and in Ogonnelloe, supplying Limerick. That is all gone, because who can compete? People think they are doing the world a favor when they are buying organic carrots from Morocco that have been flown in here. Unless there is some type of link between the cost of production and the price at which produce is sold, there will be a difficulty.”
Deputy McNamara’s comments came as Green Party TD Marc Ó Cathasaigh asked the Minister of State Pippa Hackett about the KPMG report recently commissioned by the Department of Agriculture on the growth opportunities in the horticulture sector, including opportunities deriving from the global trend towards plant-based diets.
“Mick Kelly had a similar journey with regard to garlic when he set up GIY Ireland Ltd. He was looking at Chinese garlic on the shelves when it is so easy to grow it in this climate. By the same token, I visited Grantstown Tomatoes, tomato growers, and horticulturists in Waterford. The owner has an outstanding operation. The produce is of the highest quality and he uses biological pest control."
“All those things are absolutely first-rate, but the market makes it incredibly difficult for him to make a margin. It is extremely tight and he finds that he can only aim at the highest end because we are not always prepared to pay for the quality. How can we help horticulture growers from now on to make it a more profitable business for the people involved?”
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