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Minister has faith in young enthusiastic, educated people to drive the horticulture industry forward

Teagasc’s Kildalton College, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny hosted a well attended Horticulture Open Day today to showcase the horticultural courses and facilities available to prospective students.

As with agriculture, there has been a large increase in the number of people seeking horticultural training in the last three to four years which has driven demand for places at Kildalton Horticultural College to its highest level in more than two decades.

Speaking at the open day, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Shane McEntee, TD said “Today’s open day demonstrates the wide variety of options that a horticultural career can provide, from the growing and selling of garden plants or food crops on a commercial scale to the design and care of public or private open space planting. Education, sports turf management, horticultural therapy and research are also presented as further opportunities within this very versatile sector”.

The Minister drew attention to the support the Government continues to provide to Ireland’s horticultural industry through the Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector. Emphasising the support the Scheme provides for new entrants to the sector, the Minister said he was “delighted to recently announce a total grant aid package of €3.7 million for 152 successful applicant’s under this year’s Scheme.”

The Minister outlined that he was very encouraged by the level of confidence that currently exists within Irish horticulture as well as the wider Irish agri-food industry and re-iterated the opinion that these sectors will have a critical role in leading Ireland's economic recovery. The Minister of State also pointed out the imperative that “for the industry to achieve its full potential it will be vital to have young enthusiastic, educated people in place that posses the skills and resources necessary to drive the industry forward.”

The Minister concluded his address by wishing the prospective students well in their studies and future careers and commenting that a career in horticulture would provide many “fruitful” opportunities.