Minister hails success of Irish horticulture's producer organisations

Opening a conference on producer organisations (PO's) organised by his department this week, Irish agriculture minister Tom Hayes TD said that the concentration of supply which they enable "could assist producers in responding to the power of the multiples".


Establishment of PO's, which are the vehicle for EU support to Europe's fresh produce sector, has been a priority for the Irish government, set out in its Food Harvest 2020 strategy.

Hayes pointed to the Republic's mushroom industry, where around 50 growers now collectively market their produce in Ireland and the UK, as evidence of the success of the approach.

"This co-operation allows the growers to collectively purchase inputs thereby achieving economies of scale," he said.

"More importantly, it creates a concentration of supply that allows many of the smaller producers to sell into export markets which they could not access otherwise."

Speaking of the sector as a whole, he said: "Technological advances have transformed Irish horticulture over the past decade and I believe there is significant potential for further development if the correct structures are put in place."

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