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€3.1m scheme opens for seed-potato and chipping-potato growers

A €3.1m support fund for the potato sector has opened, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.

The scheme, which provides support for the seed-potato sector has been expanded in 2023 to include growers of Irish chipping potatoes, and is financed by the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) fund.
The 2023 Scheme of Investment Aid for the Seed Potato and Chipping Potato Sector will assist in the development of capacity within the Irish seed and chipping potato sectors. It will aid improvements in the production, storage and marketing infrastructure of seed and chipping potatoes by providing grant assistance to producers towards the capital cost of specialised equipment and facilities, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).
Commenting on the opening of the scheme, Minister McConalogue said the scheme is in recognition of the challenges faced by the Irish potato sector following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. “The expansion of the scheme to include Irish chipping potato growers will help to secure and futureproof the potato industry. This scheme will enable these specialised growers to develop capacity and ensure a renewed focus on the local supply model.”
According to a statement from the DAFM, approximately 4000t of seed potatoes previously supplied by Great Britain can no longer be imported into Ireland. In addition, Ireland imports approximately 64,000 tonnes of potatoes from the UK. Most of these fresh potato imports are used by chip shop owners. 
Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity with special responsibility for horticulture, in welcoming the announcement said: “The funding provided by this scheme will be of great benefit to those growers in the seed and chipping potato sectors and will assist them in developing their capacity ensuring a consistent supply of Irish potatoes and displacements of imports.

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