Irish tomato growers hope for less challenges in the year ahead

In October, Grantstown Nurseries, based in Ballygunner outside Waterford City, was faced with a problem as the Dutch plant raiser it had worked with for many years announced that it was winding down due to the impact of input costs on the business. This meant that David Currid, who runs Grantstown Nurseries, was left scrambling to find a plant propagator only weeks out from the beginning of the next growing season. He was not alone in this.

Currid explained that the seed is sown in the Netherlands in mid-November, the plants would arrive at Grantstown Nurseries in early January, and the crop would then be in situ the following day in the glasshouses, all spaced out about 50cm apart. He added they had been dealing with Plantise, which was one of the top three cultivation companies in the Netherlands, for over 20 years.

With only around seven commercial tomato growers left in Ireland, Currid said that despite the significant challenges the sector faces in Ireland, “we have commitments made, and we have staff to keep employed, so we feel obliged to keep the business on the road and keep going.”

“Hopefully, we can write off 2022 as being a tough year; 2023 is probably not going to be a lot better, but with the support of our customers, retailers, and some state aid too through the Horticulture Exceptional Payment Scheme that we availed of in 2022, we’re hopeful that we can get through 2023 and maybe some normality will return to input costs, particularly energy,” he said.


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