Written Answers. - Horticulture Industry.

Seán Ryan

Question:

95 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the assistance, if any, available to apple growers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5054/00]

Aid, in the apple sector, primarily for post-harvest facilities, was provided under the Operational Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development 1994-99. I intend to introduce new measures for horticulture, including apple production, in the National Development Plan 2000-2006. A sum of £14 million has been allocated under the plan for horticulture measures.

As there is a structural surplus of apples in the EU, member states are not allowed to provide grant assistance for the expansion of production and the EU provided aid to reduce the area grown by grubbing up of productive orchards.