Minister of State urged to push for emergency horticulture fund

The possibility of opening a fund to aid the horticulture sector following devastating weather damage has been raised with Minister of State with responsibility for land use and biodiversity, Pippa Hackett.

Fianna Fáil deputy, Jackie Cahill, contacted Minister Hackett, who sits at cabinet, after visiting a wholesale tree and shrub nursery in Co. Tipperary this week.

Cahill saw first hand the extensive damage recent storms have caused to the tree stock at Annaveigh Plants in New Inn.

Speaking to AgriLand, deputy Cahill said:

“There was a significant amount of damage done, especially to the plants that are three years or older that were, I suppose, virtually ready for sale.

A rough estimate given was in the area of losses of at least €265,000.

“In some parts there was definitely 50 to 60% damage. Young trees have become unsalable.

“Each one of the plants he was showing us was retailing at €120 a piece, sold already to Germany. They have a double whammy in that they have to fill the contract and obviously their stock has been seriously depleted with the storm.”

Cost of repairs is significant

The loss of value for the damaged trees in just one financial factor for the nursery as the cost of repairs to remove the damaged trees will also be significant.

Even the labour to take out the trees that are bent or broken would be extremely labour intensive and problematic. Once the roots are damaged the transplanting of the sapling tree doesn’t work.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to push for a storm damage fund for the horticulture industry and anyone who can show that they have damage would be able to qualify for funding,” Cahill said.

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