“There is an opportunity to expland our industry” -Food Minister told

The Minister for Food Tom Hayes TD has said that Donegal’s seed potato industry can be revitalised, and is offering to work with local producers to grow the sector.

Joe McHugh TD brought a delegation of the county’s seed potato producers to meet Minister Hayes in the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine on Tuesday last to discuss plans for expanding the industry.

Speaking afterwards to the Derry Journal Deputy McHugh described the industry as “an important traditional sector of Donegal’s farming industry” and said that the opportunity for expansion is “obvious”.

Deputy McHugh said: “Donegal is recognised as the national leader of the seed potato sector in this State. Seed potato production is an important traditional sector of Donegal’s farming sector, and it needs to be both maintained and expanded.

“This week I took the opportunity to facilitate discussions between the Minister for Food Tom Hayes TD and a delegation of experienced Donegal seed potato producers. The discussions lasted for an hour, and Minister Hayes listened to the producers’ detailed concerns and suggestions for development of the industry.

“I will continue to work with Donegal seed potato producers to ensure that the sector is given the supports that will help to maintain and grow the industry.”

Davy Keith, IFA Development Officer, who accompanied the delegation of seed potato growers, said:“Donegal has been the mainstay of seed production in Ireland.

“We welcomed the opportunity to discuss this important sector with Minister Hayes because there is an opportunity to expand the industry.

“A sensible inspection regime is one of the things that is necessary for maintaining and expanding the sector, and the IFA will continue to push for suitable reforms.”