How We Allocate the Budget – Mike Neary


Mike Neary, Manager of Horticulture at Bord Bia, explains how Bord Bia’s horticulture budget is allocated across various initiatives, events and programmes.

Bord Bia’s role is to assist the development of the horticulture industry and to promote and market its products and services at home and abroad. Horticulture is an important sector with an annual output valued at €400 million and which has a scope that covers a wide range of crops and activities. This includes both food and amenity crops. Additional linked activities include the further preparation of fresh produce while on the amenity side, landscape design and construction and garden centre retailing are key elements. Bord Bia engages and works with all of these sectors, sometimes collectively and often individually.

While horticulture has its own identity (and department) in Bord Bia the benefit of being part of a larger organisation which works across all the food and drink sectors provides a significant resource that horticulture accesses and uses to deliver better and more effective programmes and activities to the Industry. Bloom is a case in point where the expertise and resources of all Bord Bia departments are engaged to deliver a show that is growing every year.

The gross annual budget for horticulture programmes and activities in Bord Bia is approximately €6.7 million. This funding comes from a number of sources including government, matching European Union funds for certain promotional activities, voluntary industry contributions for joint promotional activity and fees for Bord Bia services.

“The gross annual budget for horticulture programmes and activities in Bord Bia is approximately €6.7 million”

While one third of this spend goes towards making Bloom happen each year, Bord Bia’s net investment is just approximately 14% of the total cost with the balance of the cost met by the revenue generated by the event itself. This modest investment for an event the size of Bloom provides a high profile promotional showcase for Irish horticulture. The outcomes are impressive eg, 106,000 visitors, media coverage (valued at €2.2 million in 2014), €5 million spent at the event and €90 million of gardening spend inspired by the media coverage generated by Bloom. Consumer promotion activity covers campaigns from Its Garden Time activity in the amenity sector, to jointly supporting industry promotional activities such as National Strawberry Week, National Potato Day, the promotion of mushrooms on the UK and Ireland markets and the Incredible Edibles growing initiative in schools. Industry development support is wide ranging and includes supporting events such as the GLAS show, National Plant Fairs to providing sponsorship support to a large number of events and associations to assist them in providing a very important service to their members.

Individual business support is delivered through our Market Assistance, Amenity Export, Supplier Development and Innovation Programmes.

The balance of the horticulture budget is allocated to Bord Bia by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine to support the roll-out of the Food Dudes Healthy Eating Programme to all national schools in the country. Obesity is a major problem globally and Ireland is no different. The bottom line is, our children are not eating enough fruit and vegetables. The Food Dudes Programme, which includes the delivery of fruit and vegetable portions to children in participating school, changes their behaviour,
resulting in the increased consumption of fresh produce at school and in the home. Fifty per cent of the cost of the fruit and vegetables delivered into the schools is supported by funding from the EU School Fruit Scheme. To date in Ireland over 475,000 pupils and 3,000 schools have participated in this critical programme. This has obvious significant benefits for the health of the nation and the fresh produce industry both now and in the future.

The range of programmes and activities that Bord Bia is involved in with the horticulture industry is reflective of its diverse elements. The aim is to deliver this support where the best outcomes for the industry can be achieved.


● Consumer promotion – 50%
● Industry development – 18%
● Individual business development – 12%
● Market information – 10%
● Quality programmes – 10%