My Department provides support to assist fruit and vegetable growers through the Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector. This is a competitive scheme open to all horticultural sectors – field vegetables, mushrooms, protected food crops, amenity crops, soft fruit, apples and beekeeping and provides grant aid at a rate of 40% (50% for young farmers) on approved capital investments. The grant aid aims to provide support to the horticulture industry in each sector. I can confirm that the investments funded under this scheme include fruit trees such as apple trees.
At a broader level, the EU Producer Organisation Scheme which my Department operates provides important support for the fruit and vegetable sector. This scheme which is 100% EU funded provides an important mechanism for producers to achieve a more sustainable balance in the supply chain through collaboration and enhancing bargaining power by becoming part of a larger supply base.
Members can claim 50% EU aid on approved actions and investments implemented through Producer Organisations, including actions and investments on fruit production.