Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Pippa Hackett today (Thursday, October 7) met with the members of a KPMG team who will conduct a major review of the horticulture industry in Ireland.

Speaking at Agriculture House in Dublin city about the tender, won by KPMG, which will provide recommendations on a roadmap for the future of the Irish horticulture sector, the Minister said:

“I am really looking forward to this report being delivered within six months. I believe the horticulture industry is full of opportunity, but we need hard evidence to inform us about how best we can support and grow this important sector in the years ahead.

“Therefore, I am delighted to see KPMG starting work on this report, which will assess the current state of the industry in Ireland across its various sectors, together with identifying opportunities for the future,” she added.

“We know there is a growing emphasis on and awareness of local horticulture producers, therefore this is an opportune time to further encourage new entrants and to strengthen and shorten supply chains so that they can replace imports.”

KPMG report on horticulture

The DAFM has said that the report will assess the current state of the horticulture industry in Ireland across its various sectors: Field crops; protected crops; soft fruit; top fruit; amenity; potatoes; and mushrooms.

It will analyse each sector in detail, covering a wide range of areas including: Diversification; climate change; organic and integrated production; labour; routes to market; research and development; promotion; transition to sustainable growing media; and knowledge management. 

Welcoming the support of the Horticulture Industry Forum, Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Teagasc and Bord Bia, for this review, the minister said: “The Programme for Government, the EU Farm to Fork and EU Biodiversity strategies, and the recently published Food Vision 2030, all recognise the critical importance of food security.

“This report, together with the implementation plan that will follow, will allow the horticulture sector to continue to play a central role in maintaining it. 

“I don’t underestimate the task. I know there are many areas to be explored, but this is really important, and I would like this report to be delivered by April 2022.”

According to the minister, the horticulture sector output was worth €467 million in 2020. It’s the 4th highest sector in terms of value, with only beef, dairy and pigs greater.

The sector employs 6,600 full-time staff in primary production with another 11,000 employed in downstream businesses, according to DAFM.  

“But I believe that these figures need to be looked at as only the start. There is huge room for growth and development, and I want this report to help us build much further on what we are already doing,” the minister concluded.