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 payments under the Horticultural Exceptional Payment Scheme (HEPS) have started to issue to eligible applicants. Payments to growers will continue to issue through the month of September as applications are processed.
HEPS is a support measure worth €2.8 million which is funded from Ireland’s allocation for exceptional adjustment aid to producers in agricultural sectors which have been impacted by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine as announced by the European Commission on 23 March.
Making the announcement, Minister McConalogue said:
“I am delighted to announce the commencement of payments under the Horticultural Exceptional Payment Scheme. This support measure will help to mitigate some of the significant challenges the horticulture sector has been experiencing of late. The domestic horticulture sector is of immense importance and one that we want to protect and enhance. This was my core reason for devising this support package. I want to see the sector flourish in the time ahead.”
Minister Hackett added:
“Our domestic horticultural growers play a vital role in producing safe, nutritious and local food in an environmentally sustainable manner. I am committed to supporting our growers through what has been an exceptionally challenging period, and these payments will provide valuable cash flow to help to support growers and ensure the long-term viability of the sector.”
Payments to growers in the sectors of high-wire crops, field vegetables and apples will be made on an area basis (per hectare) for crops being grown in 2022. For mushrooms, payments will be calculated on the level of mushrooms sold and will be based on the quantity (weight in kilograms) of mushrooms sold over the period from 1 January 2022 to 30 April 2022.
Minister McConalogue urged farmers who have outstanding queries to address to respond to the department immediately in order to facilitate their payment.
About The Horticultural Exceptional Payment Scheme
HEPS is designed to ensure the short-term security and thus the long-term viability of these sectors.
The subsectors included under this Scheme include commercial growers in the glasshouse high-wire crops (peppers/tomatoes/cucumbers), field vegetable, mushroom and apple sectors.
Payments will be capped at €100,000 per beneficial owner.
Payments to growers of field vegetables and apples will be made on an area basis (per hectare) at a rate of €400 per hectare.
Payments to growers of high-wire crops will be calculated for a maximum of 2 hectares. A rate of €70,000 will be paid for the first hectare in production and €30,000 for the second or the pro-rata equivalent.
Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine