- 29 September 2012
Following the Minister Coveneys announcement about a new AEOS scheme on Tuesday last at the Ploughing Championship we were delighted with the Government. However late last night rumours started to arrive that the Tree and Hedgerow elements of previous schemes had been excluded. Following lengthy enquiries today we eventually realised our worst fears.
According to a government official, ‘the reason trees and hedgerows were left out is that the requirement for planting for the environment was reached during the last schemes’. How can an environmental planting requirement ever be reached, when one considers Ireland has one of the lowest tree planting rates in Europe?
The damage this will do to rural wholesale and retail outlets is immeasurable, many of whom depend on such schemes for winter income. Small hedging growers will be worst hit as the biggest outlet for their product will be wiped out. A lot of these producers have developed businesses based on these schemes and to think it can be erased by a decision taken in isolation, with no consultation or warning to the sector seems unwise. A quick survey of 6 growers this afternoon produced a figure of 2.5m whitethorn in the ground ready for sale. My estimate on the total crop size would be close to 5m plants, what are growers going to do with these if suddenly the outlet is closed?
Many landscapers have developed a niche planting for participants in these schemes and given the mauling landscaping has taken throughout the past 4 years it will be hard for many to survive such a savage cut. The small rural garden centres and nurseries derive a lot of income from these schemes and given the harsh weather of the past years and the disastrous summer many are in a precarious position. Customers of ours in this situation were looking forward to the winter bare root sales but now many are facing a very bleak future.
I would appeal to all Garden Centres, Nurseries, Wholesalers and Landscapers involved in this sector to contact your local representatives and let them know the damage such a decision will have on your business, we need to act now as time is the essence and it’s your business that will suffer.
Source: HortiTrends News Room