Minister announces cessation of collection of seed potato levy
Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has announced the cessation of collection of the statutory Seed Potato Levy.
The Minister said: "The Fund has been under subscribed for some years and the amount of income has fallen to such an extent that its retention is no longer economically justifiable."
The seed potato levy has been in existence since 1985 and the monies have been used for promoting and advertising the North of Ireland's seed potatoes.
In recent years, the decline of the seed potato hectarage has resulted in a reduction of the amounts raised annually, so that the fund has become less effective. Although the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has sought to work with the sector in developing promotional activities, the lack of applications from industry for funding from the scheme confirms the view that the statutory levy is no longer practicable. The Quinn Report in 2005 recommended the revocation of the levy, and this proposal formed part of the future support arrangements to the potato industry announced in January 2007.
The Department will work with the industry to expend remaining monies in the Fund in line with the existing disbursement procedures of the scheme.