Govt unveils plans for sector in new National Strategy for Horticulture
Eight key strategic actions have been identified in the Strategy as key to addressing the challenges and opportunities for the industry
15 June 2023
The Irish government has launched a new National Strategy for Horticulture 2023-2027 that provides a roadmap for the sector to achieve its potential.
Launched at Bloom 2023, the Strategy sets outlines a vision for the sector to grow a more profitable, value-added sector, driven by innovation and sustainability.
Eight key strategic actions have been identified in the Strategy as key to addressing the challenges and opportunities for the industry and implementation of these actions will drive change and growth across all the horticulture industry’s sub sectors.
These include strengthening the position of the grower in the marketplace; developing better data and information for better insights; and integrating horticulture back into the broader agricultural knowledge and innovation system.
It also seeks to develop a written charter between growers, consolidators and retailers, and increase consumer demand for local, in season, fresh, quality fruit, vegetables and plants.
It outlines plans to establish the framework for a permanent non-EEA seasonal workers’ scheme for the horticulture industry to ensure a reliable supply of skilled seasonal workers in the short to medium term while innovation and research into automation is intensified.
In terms of education, it said it will review horticulture course availability and suitability for a modern dynamic sector, enabling the educational platforms to attract talent that will drive the horticulture sector to realise its true potential.
If all the actions in this Strategy are implemented, a 30% increase in farmgate value from €529 million in 2022 to €688 million by the end of 2027 is anticipated, generating more rural employment and thriving local communities.
The publication of the National Strategy for Horticulture 2023-2027 aligns with and delivers on a specific action in Food Vision 2030 by providing a road map for the horticulture industry to ensure the future economic, social, and environmental sustainability of this crucial sector.
“It charts an important way forward for this crucial industry which many citizens depend on for their livelihoods and for access to fresh local quality produce,” said Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue.
“I recognise the challenges in relation to fairness and transparency in the supply chain and we must strengthen the position of growers in the marketplace. I want to see this sector grow and flourish in the years ahead and I am confident that it will with strong leadership and collaboration between the sector’s key players in implementing the actions in this Strategy.”