More than €3 million aid for seed and chipping potato farmers

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More than €3 million in funding has been announced to aid seed and chipping potato growers, good news for anyone that likes good chips.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue announced the opening of the 2023 Scheme of Investment Aid for the Seed Potato and Chipping Potato Sector today.

The scheme has been expanded this year to include growers of Irish chipping potatoes.

It will support the sector by aiding improvements in the production, storage and marketing infrastructure of seed and chipping potatoes.

This will be done through grant aid to farmers towards the cost of specialized equipment and facilities.

The scheme, which is worth €3.1m in 2023, is funded from Ireland’s allocation from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund (BAR).

Minister Charlie McConalogue said that he is a “strong supporter” of farmers growing seed and chipping potatoes, and wants to see the sector flourish in the years to come.

“We are potato royalty and I want to ensure that there is a strong and vibrant industry in the years ahead.”

Potato shortage

Minister McConalogue said that this aid scheme is in recognition of the challenges facing the Irish potato sector since Brexit.

In relation to seed potatoes, approximately 4,000 tonnes of seed potatoes previously supplied by Great Britain, as of January 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.

“The expansion of the scheme to include Irish chipping potato growers will help to secure and futureproof the potato industry and again demonstrates my commitment to the ongoing development of this important industry.”

“This Scheme will enable these specialized growers to develop capacity and ensure a renewed focus on the local supply model.”

Minister of State with special responsibility for Horticulture Pippa Hackett said that this scheme will “facilitate the expansion” of the growth of seed and chipping potatoes.

“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.”