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McConalogue announces €3m investment in Seed Potato sector

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD on the farm of Co Donegal potato grower Charlie Doherty on the banks of Lough Swilly

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD, has received cabinet approval to launch a €3m scheme of investment aid for the seed potato sector.

The Donegal TD said the scheme will accelerate development of capacity within the sector and aid improvements in the production, storage and marketing infrastructure of seed potatoes by providing grant assistance to producers towards the capital cost of specialized equipment and facilities.

The funding, which is coming through the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) will be aimed at accelerating development of capacity within the sector and aid improvements in the production, storage and marketing infrastructure of the seed potato sector by providing grant assistance to seed potato producers towards the capital cost of specialised equipment and facilities.

As a result of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union and following the end of the Brexit transition period on 1st January 2021, the import of seed potatoes from Great Britain into the EU is prohibited.

In announcing the scheme today, Minister McConalogue stated:

“In recognition of the challenges faced by the Irish potato sector in fulfilling its annual demand for access to high grade seed potato following the exit of the UK from the EU, I am delighted to announce approval of the scheme for this highly specialised farming activity.

“This presents a timely opportunity for the Irish seed potato sector to develop capacity and expand to ensure a reliable supply of domestically produced high grade seed potato material, with the support of the dedicated Seed Certification Service provided by my Department and the Tops Potato Centre in Raphoe.

“The ending of seed imports from Britain provides an opportunity for the revival of the domestic seed potato sector and I think this could be really good news for Donegal in particular.

“Donegal has traditionally been the home of seed potato growing in Ireland and I believe we can restore the industry to its heyday both locally and nationally.”

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is finalising preparations to launch the scheme which will be available for the period 2022 – 2023 and will conclude this work very shortly.