Annual payments of over €4 million have now duly issued to producer organisations (POs) in the fruit and vegetable sector, according to Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Andrew Doyle.

Commenting, Minister Doyle said: “I am happy to confirm that payments of over €4 million to POs operating in the fruit and vegetable sector have been completed.

“These payments provide valuable support to a sector that generates a farmgate output of €370 million and exports over €90 million of fresh produce annually”.

The EU Producer Organisation Scheme provides an important mechanism for growers to achieve greater bargaining power in the marketplace by becoming part of a larger supply base.

Funding is provided to POs around measures that support income resilience, collaboration, protecting the environment and climate action.

The minister added:

“Acknowledging the importance of the PO scheme to the horticulture sector, I am pleased to announce that my department has recently granted recognition to a new horticulture PO, Unigreen PO.

In the face of ever greater concentration of demand, grouping smaller producers in this way strengthens the position of producers in the market and fosters a fairer distribution of value-added along the supply chain.

Concluding, Minister Doyle said: “I am hugely supportive of the development of POs, the strength and value that can be harnessed through greater co-operation can make an immense difference towards helping improve the sustainability of the horticulture industry.”