Growing Media Ireland (GMI) has called on the government to develop a system to use domestic peat supplies in the Irish horticulture sector as soon as possible.

The organisation has welcomed a report, published this week by KPMG, examining opportunities for the sector.

The report, commissioned last year by Minister of State with responsibility for horticulture, Pippa Hackett, outlined a series of recommendations to overcome the challenges facing the sector.

The minister agreed with a finding of the report which stated that “there is no single solution that can ensure the successful development of the Irish horticulture sector”.

mushroom boyhan peat

GMI called on the government to address the key recommendations in the report to ensure a thriving, sustainable horticulture industry.

It said that this should begin with the urgent need to develop viable mechanisms to sustainably use domestic peat supplies in horticulture, especially in the context of current geopolitical events.

The report highlighted how finding alternatives to peat-based growing media which are available, affordable and sustainable is a significant challenge.

It warned that failing to find an alternative poses a major threat to the horticulture industry and noted that the mushroom sector will need a supply of domestic peat in the medium-term.

Welcoming the report, John Neenan, GMI chair said:

“With a farm gate value of €467 million and supporting a total of 17,000 jobs across the country, it is absolutely vital that government urgently addresses these recommendations.

“GMI is now calling on government, as an absolute priority, to develop viable mechanisms to sustainably use domestic peat supplies in the short-term,” he continued.

“GMI has repeatedly highlighted how the effective ban on horticultural peat harvesting and the lack of adequate alternatives, as emphasised in the KPMG report, means the industry and a total of 17,000 jobs across the country are now in crisis.

“GMI has been working with government officials and the experts appointed by the department of agriculture over the past few months to work towards finding an appropriate, sustainable solution and to support the Irish horticultural sector,” Neenan concluded.