The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett today announced that approvals to farmers who applied this year for the Organic Farming Scheme, have begun to issue.
The Minister said: “I am delighted those who applied to the scheme this year are receiving their approvals. Over 270 farmers, which is 85% of all those who applied, are getting them, while other farmers will get theirs, once outstanding issues have been resolved. My Department has already been in contact with the farmers who have not yet received an approval and my officials are working with them on whatever needs to be rectified.”
Referring to the amount of land which is coming in under the scheme, the Minister added: “Over 14,000ha of land were included in the applications submitted this year, an amount which will increase the land farmed organically in Ireland by almost 20%. That is very encouraging and points to the attraction of the organic option for farmers. Farmers who received approval for the scheme will qualify for an annual payment of up to €220 per hectare during the conversion period and up to €170 per hectare when their land has achieved full organic status. Higher payment rates are also available for organic horticulture and tillage farmers.”
The Minister concluded: “I am committed to growing the number of farmers in the Organic Farming Scheme and will be working hard to secure funding for future reopenings and for an expanded scheme under the next CAP. The demand for organic produce is increasing year-on-year and I am ambitious for the sector’s growth. And although this scheme prioritised the sectors for which most market demand exists, namely dairy, horticulture and tillage sectors, I am especially pleased that everyone who was eligible to join will receive approval and I hope that continues to be the case with future schemes also.”.