Ireland has imported just under 4,000t of horticultural peat from Latvia.
That is according to Growing Media Ireland (GMI), which revealed that over 200 trucks travelled over 3,000km to Irish soil from Latvia.
Peat from Latvia
In a statement about the arrival of 3,600t of Latvian peat into Ireland, the representative body said:
“This compares to an average of 10km when peat was harvested locally in a Westmeath factory prior to its effective banning in Ireland.”
“This is the first time this country has had to import horticultural peat with many scheduled shipments from the Baltic states and other EU countries expected over the coming weeks and months to supply Ireland’s horticultural sector.
“All sectors of Irish horticulture, including mushroom and small fruit and vegetable growers in north Dublin and throughout rural Ireland, are severely affected.”
“However, not only will growers and horticultural peat sector be impacted but food prices are expected to increase as a result of peat importation and inevitably passed on to consumers.”
The body involves “the majority” of horticultural peat and growing media producers in Ireland (excluding Bord na Mona). They claim to contribute to the socio-economic development of rural communities and regions throughout Ireland.
Larry Doran, a spokesperson for Kildare Growers, says they are at the end of their tether since the ban on harvesting of peat on bogs over 30 hectares.
“The Irish horticulture industry employs approximately 17,000 people, particularly in rural areas. If no solution is found immediately, businesses will be forced to close. There will be a loss of native biodiversity and biosecurity.”
“There is a high likelihood that there will be no Irish plants for sale next year. Garden centres will be forced to import all products.”
“The Green Party is acutely aware of this, and the cessation of Irish horticultural peat production forces us expects us to import inferior quality growing material, from the Balkans or Malaysia, 2,300km and 10,000km from our shores, respectively.”
Furthermore, Doran highlighted that this would have a “compounding detrimental” effect on the environment.