Applicants flock to horticulture courses
Former part-time farmers with five to 10ac of land are looking towards the horticulture sector for new income.
Introductory horticulture courses run by Teagasc at Kildalton and Kinsealy have been inundated with applications from people interested in setting up their own businesses.
Jim O'Mahony, Teagasc's head of horticulture, said the courses had attracted a range of people aged from 18 to their mid-50s, and many of them had lost their jobs and were keen for information on how to set up a business in horticulture.
More than 110 people have already completed a one-day course offering an overview of the potential job and business opportunities in the sector.
"Some are looking at the potential for expansion in existing businesses such as farm shops and others are looking at starting from the beginning," Mr O'Mahony said.
Kildalton-based horticulture expert Dermot Callaghan said the sector covered a range of businesses, including amenity horticulture, landscape design and service, cut-flower production, cut-foliage production, and the edible sectors such as fruit and vegetable production.
An intensive 36-hour course on fruit and vegetable production for local markets begins later this week at Kildalton, where 16 participants have already signed up.