The Department for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has announced that payments under the Horticulture Crisis Fund will begin for all eligible applicants. The Horticulture Crisis Fund, allocated under the EU Agriculture Reserve, is a support measure worth €2.38 million for eligible producers in the Irish horticulture sector. It will be provided in the form of a once-off payment to horticultural producers most affected by unfavourable weather conditions and high input costs.
Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity with special responsibility for Horticulture, Senator Pippa Hackett said at the announcement, “2023 was a difficult year for many in the horticulture sector and it is vital that we acknowledge this and recognise the vital role they play in providing nutritious food for consumers across Ireland. The Horticulture Crisis Fund targets supports at those growers who encountered the highest losses and was designed to ensure the short-term security and ultimately the long-term viability of their businesses.”
Horticultural subsectors receiving assistance under this Scheme include commercial growers in the glasshouse high-wire crops, brown mushrooms, heated strawberries, field vegetables (excluding potatoes), field salad crops, apples and vertical farmed greens.
Payments to growers in the high-wire crops, heated strawberries, field vegetables, field salad crops, vertically grown greens and apple sectors will be made on an area basis (per hectare) for crops grown in 2023. For brown mushrooms, payments will be calculated on the level of brown mushrooms sold and will be based on the quantity (weight in kilograms) of mushrooms sold over the period from 1 January 2023 to 30 September 2023. Payments are to be capped at €100,000 per beneficial owner.
Field vegetable and field salad growers will receive payments made at a rate of €400 per hectare.
Growers of high-wire crops will receive payments calculated for a maximum of 2 hectares. A rate of €70,000 will be paid for the first hectare in production and €30,000 for the second or the pro-rata equivalent.
Growers of heated strawberry crops will also receive payments calculated for a maximum of 2 hectares. A rate of €50,000 will be paid for the first hectare in production and €20,000 for the second or the pro-rata equivalent.
Producers of vertically grown greens will be paid a rate of €25,525 for the first hectare in production or the pro-rata equivalent, while payments to growers of apples will be at a rate of €310 per hectare.
Payments to growers of brown mushrooms will be calculated at a rate of €0.015/KG on the level of brown mushrooms sold over the period from 1 January 2023 to 30 September 2023.
Further information on the Horticulture Crisis Fund can be found here.