The grant is set at 40% of total eligible capital investment (50% in the case of young farmers) and will fund projects in commercial horticulture undertaken during 2012. If an applicant is under the age of 35 the minimum investment level required to qualify for the scheme is lowered to €4,000. This will encourage new entrants into the sector but it also represents a good opportunity for existing farmers to diversify their enterprise.
The Scheme is aimed at assisting growers to efficiently produce high quality products to meet the increasing demands of a very competitive market. It covers all horticultural sectors – protected crops, nursery crops, field vegetables, soft fruit, apples, beekeeping and, mushrooms.
Details of the scheme and application forms can be obtained from Crop Policy, Production and Safety Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Administration Building, Backweston Campus, Young’s Cross, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, (01) 5058886 or at www.agriculture.gov.ie. The closing date for receipt of applications is 10th February 2012 and only investments commenced after the issue of letters of approval will be eligible for aid.
Despite the Government’s budgetary challenges significant funding for Horticulture was allocated for this year and every effort will be made to remain focussed on enhancing support for the sector in future.