In recognition of the value of the horticulture sector in Ireland, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, and Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity with special responsibility for horticulture, Senator Pippa Hackett, announced the opening of the €3 million scheme of Investment Aid for the Seed Potato Sector. Some €210,000 of funding from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) fund to support the Irish mushroom sector was also announced.
The Irish mushroom industry relies on the UK export market for 85% of its sales. Annually, 60,000 tonnes of mushrooms are exported to the UK (worth approximately €151 million in 2021). The mushroom industry has been particularly impacted by Brexit. Reduced volumes and additional costs incurred as a direct result of Brexit have reduced the competitiveness and attractiveness of Irish mushrooms in the UK marketplace. Constant promotion is therefore required to maintain sales levels.
This BAR funding of €210,000 supports a sectoral promotional campaign that seeks to ensure that UK consumers are dynamically reminded of the nutritional and taste benefits of cooking with mushrooms. Coordinated by Bord Bia, through its UK agency Spinnaker, this exciting campaign of TV ads (July), social media activity (July-December) and outdoor activity (October) is designed to increase consumption of Irish mushrooms in the UK this summer/autumn. Mushroom consumption tends to dip through the summer months as mushrooms are seen as a winter staple in Europe whereas in the US mushroom sales remain more consistent in the summer as Americans cook on the barbeque and eat raw mushrooms in salads.
Minister McConalogue said: “I’m delighted to have secured funding to support this vital promotional campaign to sustain Ireland’s mushroom footprint in the marketplace throughout these critical months. The mushroom sector is a really important one for our overall agri-food sector and it is crucial that we support it in any way we can."
Minister Hackett added: “These are challenging times for the wider horticulture industry, and the mushroom sector in particular has been severely impacted by Brexit given its reliance on the UK export market. This promotional campaign will help to ensure consumer appetite and demand remain strong in the UK for Irish mushrooms, which are a versatile source of sustainable nutrition."
The BAR funded seed potato scheme, announced last week, is now open for applications. Capital grant aid is available at a rate of up to 40% for all approved investments with qualifying young farmers receiving up to 60% grant aid. The closing date for receipt of applications for the 2022 scheme is Friday 1 July 2022. Full details including application forms can be accessed: at the following link - 2022 Scheme of Investment Aid for the Seed Potato Sector by emailing email@example.com
Commenting on the opening on the BAR funded seed potato scheme, Minister McConalogue said: “There is great potential in reviving the domestic seed potato sector. I am committed to seeing it thrive once more once there is leadership from within the sector too. I believe we can restore the industry to its heyday nationally."
Minister of State Hackett said: “I welcome the announcement of this scheme as a hugely positive step in contributing to shorter supply chains and sector sustainability in a domestic industry that is synonymous with our country."
Notes The Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund EU’s Brexit Adjustment Reserve Regulation was formally adopted by the EU Council and European Parliament in September 2021 and entered into force on 11 October 2021. The eligibility period for expenditure runs from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2023.