Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle, has announced the re-opening of the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) with immediate effect.
The OFS is a scheme under Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 to support organic production on Irish farms.
The OFS is an agri-environment measure, under the Department's Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
The Organic Sector
“I established a strategy group earlier this year tasked with developing a strategy for the development of the Organic Sector for the period up to 2025. The Terms of Reference of the Group included assessing the case for a reopening of the Organic Farming Scheme,” the Minister of State said.
“This group have now recommended the re-opening of the OFS on a targeted basis. This is based on market demand and supply deficits in organic horticulture, cereals, and dairy.”
He said that following receipt of this assessment, he decided to re-open the Organic Farming Scheme, which will be funded through savings identified in the current OFS budget to facilitate new entrants.
He added that, as per the strategy group’s recommendation, a ranking and selection process will be put in place that will give priority to the areas that are deemed to be in deficit i.e. horticulture cereals and dairy.
“The Organic Farming Scheme is a key support measure that will assist farmers in their conversion to organic farming and will allow them to avail of the growing market opportunities that clearly exist for organic food, Minister Doyle continued.
“The Irish organic sector is one which continues to go from strength to strength. I expect to be receiving the Organic Strategy Report by the end of the year which will set out the development of the Strategy to 2025”.
Farmers enter into a contract for a minimum of five years, with standard rate payments of up to €220 per hectare a year during the conversion period and up to €170 per hectare when they have achieved full organic status, with higher payment rates made available for organic horticultural and tillage farmers.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.