Blueprint for mushroom industry

Dublin: A blueprint for the development of a modern competitive Irish mushroom industry was presented to Food Minister Noel Treacy in Dublin yesterday.

It was compiled by a task force he had established with Denis Lucey as chairman to examine the critical issues facing the sector and to draw up a co-ordinated action plan to ensure that it is put on a firm footing.

Mr Treacy said the mushroom industry has been one of the great success stories of Irish agriculture and a shining example of an integrated and market led sector.

Over 20 years farm output had grown to some €130 million while exports to the British market were worth in excess of €100m last year. More than 4,000 people are employed across the sector.

Mr Treacy said the task force had made wide ranging recommendations and he believed these can be implemented through the concerted efforts of everyone in the industry.

Contracts are recommended as the basis for the relationship between growers and marketers. Provision for price transparency to promote trust between the parties is urged. Cost reduction issues are dealt with and ambitious targets are set for the industry to compete with European producers.

The report recognises that training and further research, particularly in value added products is crucial. The need for promotion campaigns particularly those targeted at the younger age group is underlined.

Irish Mushroom Growers' Association chairman Michael Slattery welcomed the report, which, he said, would benefit the industry if fully implemented.

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