Minister Pippa Hackett has appointed KPMG to conduct a major review of the Horticulture Industry.
The report will assess the current state of the horticulture industry in Ireland across its various sectors (Field crops, Protected crops, Soft fruit, Top fruit, Amenity, Potatoes and Mushrooms).
It will analyse each sector in detail, covering a wide range of areas including diversification, climate change, organic and integrated production, labour, routes to market, R&D, promotion, transition to sustainable growing media and knowledge management.
According to Minister Hackett, the report will provide recommendations on a road map for the future of the Irish horticulture sector.
She said: “I am really looking forward to this report being delivered within 6 months.
“I believe the Horticulture industry is full of opportunity, but we need hard evidence to inform us about how best we can support and grow this important sector in the years ahead.
“Therefore, I am delighted to see KPMG starting work on this report which will assess the current state of the industry in Ireland across its various sectors together with identifying opportunities for the future.
“We know there is a growing emphasis on and awareness of local horticulture producers, therefore this is an opportune time to further encourage new entrants and to strengthen and shorten supply chains so that they can replace imports.
“To do that, we need to get behind the headlines and work out a plan to make Irish horticulture a success.”
Minister Hackett also welcomed the support of the Horticulture Industry Forum, IFA, Teagasc and Bord Bia, for this review.
The Minister said: “The Programme for Government, the EU Farm to Fork and EU Biodiversity strategies, and the recently published FoodVision 2030, all recognise the critical importance of food security, and this report, together with the implementation plan that will follow, will allow the horticulture sector to continue to play a central role in maintaining it.
“I don’t underestimate the task. I know there are many areas to be explored but this is really important, and I would like this report to be delivered by April 2022.”
The Minister concluded highlighting the very valuable contribution the horticulture sector makes to the economy.
She said: “The Horticulture sector output was worth a very considerable €467m in 2020. It’s the 4th highest sector in terms of value, with only beef, dairy and pigs greater.
“It employs 6,600 full time staff in primary production with another 11,000 employed in downstream businesses. But I believe that these figures need to be looked at as only the start.
“There is huge room for growth and development, and I want this report to help us build much further on what we are already doing.”