Senator Victor Boyhan is calling on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to commission Teagasc to conduct research trials into alternatives to peat for the horticulture industry.
Fears are growing that the mushroom and horticulture industry will be disproportionately affected by the end of peat harvesting by Bord na Móna.
Boyhan has had a professional interest in the horticulture industry for 40 years and told the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee on Tuesday 16 February that it was a “success story” that needed to be supported.
I am calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to commission Teagasc to conduct research trials
He said that a “just transition” was needed which would take a matter of years and warned that the Irish horticulture industry would lose out to Polish or Dutch growers if access to peat for the sector was denied.
“The end of peat production in Ireland would be catastrophic for the horticultural sector, most likely making the production of mushrooms, lettuce and many ornamental crops in Ireland uneconomic,” he said.
“I am calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to commission Teagasc to conduct research trials into alternatives to peat for the horticultural industry, agri-food and forestry sector. In the meantime, peat milled must be allow continue.
“Jobs in the food and forestry sector must be protected, the horticulture industry needs to be afforded a period of just transition, sustainable alternatives to peat that will yield high-quality food production and are profitable must be explored through research an innovation.”