The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has launched the seventh round of the Scheme of Investment Aid for the development of the commercial horticulture sector under the National Development Plan.
The closing date for receipt of applications is 10 January 2014 and only investments which start after the issue of the respective letter of approval will be eligible for aid.
The scheme is open to all horticultural sectors – protected crops, nursery crops, field vegetables, soft fruit, apples, beekeeping and mushrooms. It will provide grant aid, at a rate of 40 per cent (50 per cent in the case of qualifying young farmers) for approved capital investments undertaken by 3 October 2014.
Minister Tom Hayes said he was delighted that support for specialised capital investments had been increased by almost 30 per cent in the recent budget with €4.2 million allocated to the scheme of investment aid for the development of the commercial horticulture sector in 2014.
He said: "This scheme is vital to improving growers’ competitiveness and the quality of output as well as allowing growers innovate and diversify production in accordance with the objectives set for the horticultural sector in Food Harvest 2020 as well as the Horticultural Action Group Report.
"Since taking office I have visited a number of Irish growers and witnessed at first hand the benefits that have accrued to the industry through investments conducted under this scheme."
Pointing out that in 2013 applicants sought over three times what was available under the Scheme, the Minister said he anticipated "very strong demand once again for this competitive grant aid scheme and that, given the quality of the capital investments funded in 2013, the State will once again be able to deliver excellent value for money in terms of the use of funds under this scheme."
Details of the Scheme and application forms can be obtained from Crop Policy, Production and Safety Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Administration Building, Backweston Campus, Young’s Cross, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, (01) 5058886 or at www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmingsectors/horticulture/horticultureschemes/