The opening of the 2018 Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector has been announced.
The scheme is open to all horticultural sectors – field vegetables, mushrooms, protected food crops, amenity crops, soft fruit, apples and beekeeping – and will provide grant aid, at a rate of 40 per cent, for approved capital investments undertaken by September 28, 2018. The closing date for receipt of applications is December 19, 2017.
In 2016, Ireland’s horticulture sector contributed over €430m to the value of output at farm-gate level and is estimated to be directly responsible for over 6,600 jobs, with many more employed indirectly.
Launching the scheme, Andrew Doyle, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for Horticulture, said: “I am delighted to announce the opening of the Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector for 2018. An increased annual budget of €5m for the scheme has been retained, reflecting this Government's ongoing commitment to the sector. The competitive nature of the scheme, combined with the scheme’s flexibility and ability to react to evolving situations, are two key strengths in supporting this highly dynamic sector.
“The SBCI loan scheme launched in last year’s Budget was a great success and a number of horticultural businesses have benefited from these low-interest loans. As part of the recent Budget, €25m has been secured to facilitate the development of a new Brexit response loan scheme for farmers, fishermen and food businesses in 2018, and further details will be announced in due course."