Horticulture Action Group


A horticulture action group has been set up. Brilliant news, I thought. That said I have tried as best as possible here to simply report that there is a new [horticultural related] group and what it will/ or not do for horticulture in Ireland. Have a read and leave a comment below if you wish.

Minister Cuffe Announces Composition of Horticulture Action Group

…thats what the headline on the Department of Agriculture and Minister Cuffe’s website. Just in case the website changes, here is the official blurb.

The Minister of State for Horticulture, Ciarán Cuffe TD, has announced the establishment of a Horticulture Action Group to oversee the implementation of the relevant recommendations relating to Horticulture in the Food Harvest 2020 Report.

Membership of the Group, representing the various sectors of the horticulture industry, comprises:

Mr Kieran Dunne, Nursery Stock producer
Ms Caroline Keeling, Wholesaler and Protected Crop producer
Mr John Hogan, Field Vegetable producer
Ms Lavinia Walsh, Mushroom producer
Mr Maurice Whelton, Potato producer
Mr Mike Neary, An Bord Bia
Mr Jim O’Mahony, Teagasc and
Mr Gabriel Roe, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

The remit of the Group is to focus in specific terms on the implementation of the particular recommendations in the 2020 Report relating to Horticulture and to also consider other general farm and agriculture industry level recommendations. The Group will report back to the High Level Implementation Group, which has been set up under the overall chairmanship of the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Brendan Smith TD.

The Minister stated that: “the Horticultural industry has considerable potential to develop but is also facing significant challenges and that he looked forward to the Group progressing the implementation of the 2020 Food Harvest Report”.

Minister Cuffe will inaugurate the first meeting of the Group on 2 December 2010.

Date Released: 30 November 2010

The Irish Examiner pretty much ran with whats above but the The Irish Times Agriculture Correspondent Sean Mac Connell ran with the title Agri-food group to implement export report and certainly explains it a lot better.

It says horticulture in the title. To quote myself from a previous post

horticulture n the art or science of cultivating gardens

source: collins english dictionary paperback edition

There is a nursery plant grower on this panel. Also there, of relevance to amenity horticulture is Mike Neary.

Ciaran Cuffe is also there. His own website goes with this…

The Green Party has the fresh thinking to provide and nurture the green jobs of the future. We’re implementing the solutions in energy, planning and transport that will bring us through these challenging times.

Brendan Smith, was asked about this in The Oireachtas on December 1st. He’s the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. I’ve linked to it [were it says oirecahtas on december 1st if you wish to read it all but for now….

The first paragraph is pure jibberish – for the sole reason that is reads as such

…I have established, and am chairing, the High Level Implementation Committee (HLIC) bringing together the key actors in the state sector to ensure an integrated focused state implementation effort. The role of this central implementation group is to progress the development of the sector and to direct the activities of any ancillary group it may establish. Following its inaugural meeting on 16 September, a further meeting of the HLIC was held on 16 November, with its next meeting scheduled for 12 January.

as do paragraphs 2 & 3. Paragraph 4 goes as such….

…..I recently launched a research call of €10 million under the three public good research programmes operated by my Department. This call focused on the strategy’s ‘Smart’, ‘Green’‘Growth’ objectives and will build on existing research capability and support the development of collaborative research networks. A further initiative in this area, is the establishment of an Agri Research Expert Advisory Group which will facilitate greater input and resources from the agriculture industry into the design and structure of primary research. In addition, at the last meeting of the HLIC, the CEOs from a number of state bodies agreed to collaborate to provide the HLIC with a focused paper on developing and promoting innovation in the overall sector.

skips paragraph…. mentions Teagasc…. skips paragraph……

A Horticulture Action Group has already been established to activate the relevant recommendations of Food Harvest 2020 and report back to the HLIC on progress in the new year. As part of their analytical work in developing the sustainability agenda for the Irish food sector, Bord Bia and Teagasc in conjunction with the Carbon Trust are undertaking an extensive pilot audit of 200 farms to demonstrate the sustainability of the beef sector. This initiative will provide consumer feedback on the values which could underpin a general approach differentiating our food and drink product. The HLIC has already endorsed these scoping actions and are being kept informed of developments on an ongoing basis.

These are examples of actions already undertaken and further progress on these and all recommendations will be monitored and activated at the next meeting of the HLIC on 12 January.

I emailed Ciaran [december 7th 2010] with the information above and also specifically asked the following

  • Who is the second/ higher/ upper level that the advisory committee  report to.
  • Why is there no-one from the landscaping sector on this panel ?
  • What are the proposals for the promotion of the amenity sector ieg landscaping./ gardening ?

I got the following response [december 13th 2010]

Peter, A Chara,

Thank you for your email.

The Horticulture Action Group has been initiated to oversee implementation of the recommendations for horticulture, including amenity horticulture, contained in the Food Harvest 2020. As with amenity horticulture, there are also sub-sectors within the other horticulture sectors. However, in order to expedite the output of the Horticulture Action Group within a tight time frame, the membership of the group contains one industry representative for each sector with one representative from this department, Bord Bia and Teagasc.

The output of the Horticulture Action Group once complete is passed to the Higher Level Implementation Group chaired by Minister Smith. The Higher Level Implementation Group oversees the entire Food Harvest 2020 Implementation process.

Yours sincerely,
Ciarán Cuffe
Minister of State
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Well that’s all my questions answered…


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