I am very aware of the impact the current spell of wet weather is having on the harvesting of vegetable and potato crops, including possible impact on cashflow. At this time of the year, my Department is prioritising payment of a range of supports for the agriculture and horticulture sector.
Advance payments under the Basic Payments Scheme, worth €747 million to 114,500 farmers, have commenced and these provide a vital support for farmers across all sectors and contribute greatly to maximising farm income and cashflow.
In recognition of the specific needs of the horticulture sector, the Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector was developed to provide essential support for individual growers within Ireland’s horticulture industry. My Department is prioritising the payment of grant aid to approved applicants and, so far this year, over €3 million has already been paid out to individual growers and it is expected that the full budget of €6 million will be drawn down by the end of 2019.
In further support of the sector, payments under the EU fruit and vegetable producer organisation scheme are currently being processed, with over €4million expected to issue very shortly.