The 2024 Scheme of Investment Aid for the development of the commercial horticulture sector has opened for applications.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett announced the opening of the scheme with a budget of €10m on Wednesday 8 November.

Minister Hackett described this year as a "particularly challenging" year for growers, with incomes hit by high input costs and difficult weather conditions.

During the winter meeting of the horticulture industry forum, which was chaired by the minister on Wednesday, she also updated the members on the progress of the implementation of the key strategic actions contained in the national strategy for horticulture.


"It is very clear that a great deal of momentum has already been gained in progressing the actions in this strategy since its launch in June and I very much welcome the collaborative approach and constructive engagement at the meeting today," she said.

Minister Hackett highlighted the recent engagements with retailers and the horticulture industry forum sub-committee.

She said that meetings that have taken place to date have been very positive, with retailers indicating their support for the industry.

"There appears to be a clear understanding of the importance of ensuring the viability of the horticulture industry so that there can continue to be a supply of Irish produce in the future.

"In particular, retailers are looking at issues concerning sustainability and ensuring food security and I look forward to continued positive engagement with retailers over the coming months," she said.

Starting point

Minister Hackett also said regarding the work on the strategy that it is the starting point for building a strong foundation on which this sector can grow.

“Although there are a number of challenges currently facing this industry, the focus must be on embracing opportunities.

"As the actions in the strategy are implemented, the true potential of these many opportunities can be realised, ensuring the achievement of our shared vision of growing a more profitable value-added sector driven by sustainability and innovation," she concluded.