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Horticulture Sector

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Questions (385)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

385. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will address the crisis facing the Irish horticulture sector owing to the effective ban on indigenous peat harvesting; if he will seek the immediate publication of the report of the working group on the use of Peat Moss in the Horticultural Industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53791/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I am very well aware of the concerns in relation to the licensing of peat extraction which are generating challenges (volume and price) for the horticulture sector. As the Deputy knows my Department has no involvement in the regulation of peat extraction.

Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Malcolm Noonan T.D., established a working group, which includes a representative from my Department, to address the key issues raised in a Report on the Review of the use of Peat Moss in the Horticultural Industry. A final report from this working group has recently been submitted to Minister Noonan. The consideration of and timing of the publication of the report rests with Minister Noonan and his Department.

Separately, my Department is actively looking at alternatives to peat and has funded two research projects to date. Furthermore, the Department’s Research Call for 2021 included a call for further research on alternatives to peat based growing media for horticultural production.

Given the Department’s areas of responsibility and recognising the importance of the horticulture sector to the economy, my Department continues to provide sustained and significant support to the sector through the Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Horticulture Sector.

Additionally, fruit and vegetable growers who are members of recognised Producer Organisations (POs) can access EU funding up to 50% of the eligible costs of approved Operational Programmes through the EU’s PO scheme.

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