Vegetable sector on brink following winter crop woes
Published 08/02/2011 | 08:49
The vegetable sector is on the brink of collapse following the loss of more than 1,000ac of the crop during the winter, according to the Irish Horticultural Association (IHA).
Growers have lost €10m due to the Arctic conditions that gripped the country in the past two months, claimed IHA chairman PJ Jones.
"The worst affected crops were carrots, cauliflowers and cabbages," said Mr Jones.
He added that the situation was being compounded by the relentless downward pressure that the supermarkets were putting on the prices they pay growers.
"A code of practice that was supposed to protect growers from the predatory practices of the supermarkets was promised over a year ago. There is still no sign of this and I believe that we will see a huge number of growers quit over the coming weeks if something dramatic does not change.
"I know growers who are hoping the bank refuses them credit this week so that they don't run the risk of bringing down suppliers of inputs that they have been working with for generations."
Mr Jones confirmed that he was in negotiations with Minister Brendan Smith in a bid to secure a disaster relief fund for growers.