Mushroom Sector & Horticulture Industry facing ‘imminent crisis’ – Matt Carthy TD
The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy, has warned that the horticultural sector in Ireland is facing ‘imminent crisis’ as government ignores industry warnings.
He was speaking following a meeting of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee with Bord na Móna on the governments proposed bog re-wetting programme, where Carthy was among several TDs who also sought to address the potential crisis facing sectors such as the Mushroom industry.
Following the meeting, Teachta Carthy said:
“The Just Transition Commissioner has acknowledged that the harvesting of horticultural peat is entirely distinct from harvesting peat as a fossil fuel.
“Indeed, less than half a percent of all bogs in Ireland supply the entire sector, and 500 hectares could supply the industry for another 100 years.
“Horticultural peat is an absolutely critical substrate for the sector – especially so for mushrooms.
“Ministers Ryan and Noonan have made many references to alternatives being developed but seem unaware that the harvesting industry is on the brink of collapse. Indeed, Minister Eamon Ryan told me in the Dáil previously that the importation of peat will be one of the alternatives, a ludicrous proposition.
“This will cost jobs, especially in the midlands and border region.
“In the short term, industry may resort to importing peat from the Baltics – the Committee heard that moves are already afoot to import from Lithuania specifically.
“In the long-term, we may well see Irish horticultural jobs move abroad, and Ireland move from being a net exporter to a net importer of products like mushrooms.
“Neither of those options will yield positive results for the environment or jobs but stand as another example of this governments lip service to environment and the concept of the Just Transition.
“This issue crosses the Departments of Agriculture, Climate, and bizarrely Heritage – yet no Minister seems willing to take responsibility for protecting this incredibly productive and sustainable indigenous industry.
“I have written to the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee requesting that we continue to engage with all stakeholders so that we can play a role in protecting a vital component of our rural economy.”