The 2023 Scheme of Investment Aid for the Seed Potato and Chipping Potato Sector has opened.
The scheme has been expanded this year to include growers of Irish chipping potatoes.
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.
The scheme, which is worth €3.1m in 2023, is funded under Ireland’s allocation from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve fund.
Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said that the scheme is in recognition of the challenges faced by the Irish potato sector following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
“The expansion of the scheme to include Irish chipping potato growers will help to secure and future-proof the potato industry and again demonstrates my commitment to the ongoing development of this important industry,” Mr McConalogue said.
“I am a strong supporter of the seed potato and chipping potato sectors. I want to see the sector to grow and flourish in the years ahead. We are potato royalty and I want to ensure that there is a strong and vibrant industry in the years ahead.
“This scheme will enable these specialised growers to develop capacity and ensure a renewed focus on the local supply model.”
Approximately 4,000 tonnes of seed potato previously supplied by Great Britain, as of January 1, 2021, 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.
Minister of State with special responsibility for horticulture Pippa Hackett, in welcoming the announcement, said that the horticulture sector is a “critical component” of agriculture in Ireland, and that this scheme will “facilitate the expansion of the Irish seed and chipping potato sectors”.
“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,” Ms Hackett added.