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Closing date for €2.8m Horticulture Exceptional Payment Scheme extended

Tomatoes

24 June is the final day for Irish fruit and vegetable growers coping with spiralling input costs to apply for emergency aid

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16 June 2022 | 0

The closing date for the Horticulture Exceptional Payment Scheme (HEPS) has been extended by a week, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has said.

It had previously announced that tomorrow (17 June) would be the final day for Irish fruit and vegetable growers coping with spiralling input costs to apply for an emergency aid package. That date has been moved by one week to 24 June.

The €2.8 million Horticulture Exceptional Payment Scheme (HEPS) scheme is open to those who grow mushrooms, field vegetables, apples for the dessert, culinary and processing markets, as well as glasshouse growers of high-wire tomato, cucumber, and pepper crops.

The scheme will be 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.

Payments to growers 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 kg) of mushrooms sold over the period from January 1, 2022 to April 30, 2022.

The rate of payment will depend on the total areas and quantities applied for. Payments will be capped at €100,000.

Application forms for the payment must be submitted by midnight on June 17, 2022. Payments will be made by September 30, 2022.

Eligible applicants must have an annual turnover of €50,000 or more. They must also either be a certified member of the Bord Bia Sustainable Horticulture Assurance Scheme (SHAS) or equivalent alternative scheme.

Alternatively, they must be a certified organic horticulture producer or provide documentary proof that they have used environmental and climate-friendly production methods.

“The horticulture sector has been experiencing significant challenges recently and that is why I am delighted to announce this support for those most impacted in the sector,” said Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue. “We are very proud of our domestic horticultural growers and we must ensure the long-term viability of the sector.”

Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity with special responsibility for horticulture Pippa Hackett added: “This support scheme will help to mitigate some of these impacts as well as sustain the viability of our horticultural growers who play a key role in producing safe, nutritious and local food in an environmentally sustainable manner.”

For full terms and conditions of the scheme, visit:  www.gov.ie/schemes-and-services-agriculture-food-and-the-marine/

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