An independent TD has reminded the horticultural sector to submit applications to the Horticulture Exceptional Payment Scheme (HEPS) before the deadline this week.

The scheme provides a once-off payment to growers in the horticulture subsectors most affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Applications to the scheme can be made until midnight on Friday, June 17, 2022.

“HEPS is designed to ensure the short-term security and thus the long-term viability of these sectors,” independent TD for Wexford, Verona Murphy said.

“The subsectors most at risk are supported under the scheme, including commercial growers in the glasshouse high-wire crops, field vegetable, mushroom and apple sectors,” she added.

A total fund of €2.8 million is available for the scheme. Indicative allocations for the different subsectors are as follows:

  • High-wire crops: €1,000,000;
  • Mushrooms: €600,000;
  • Field vegetable: €1,000,000;
  • Apples: €200,000.

Payments to growers of high-wire crops, field vegetables and apples will be made on a per-hectare basis for crops being grown in 2022.

For the mushroom sector, payments will be based on the kg weight of produce sold over the period from January 1, 2022 to April 30, 2022.

Payments to eligible growers are expected to be made by September 30, 2022, and will be capped at €100,000/beneficial owner.

Eligibility criteria and other key details are laid out in the scheme terms and conditions available on the department’s website, along with the application form.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, announced the scheme last week, saying that the horticulture sector has been experiencing significant challenges recently.

The scheme is funded through Ireland’s allocation for exceptional adjustment aid as announced by the European Commission.