The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has been urged to immediately open the Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector for 2023. Niall McCormack, the National Fruit and Vegetable Committee chair of the Irish Farmers’ Association, has said the delay is unacceptable and urgent action must be taken. A total of €10 million has been allocated to the horticulture sector as part of Budget 2023. The DAFM previously said that the scheme would open for applications early this year.
The scheme aims to assist the development of the sector – including field vegetables, mushrooms, protected food crops, amenity crops, soft fruit, apples, and beekeeping. McCormack said that the scheme usually opens in autumn, with applications closing before Christmas. However, this year the scheme was delayed due to pending EU State Aid approval.