Minister of State Pippa Hackett has today (Monday, May 31) announced the opening of the first tranche in 2021 of the Organic Processing Investment Grant Scheme, with effect from tomorrow (June 1). 

The scheme will aid organic processors who wish to invest in developing facilities for the processing, preparation, grading, packing and storage of organic products.

Aid will be available for off-farm projects and processors can apply for grant aid up to €700,000, which will increase the overall ceiling for each processor by an additional €200,000 over the duration of the scheme. 

The total funding in 2021 has increased by €500,000 and will amount to €1.2 million.

Announcing the opening of this tranche, Minister Hackett said that “there are currently great opportunities for the Irish agri-food sector”.

Scheme to assist in meeting demand

“Demand for organic produce continues to increase year-on-year and I am fully committed to developing the organic sector as a wonderful opportunity for the Irish agri-food sector,” she added.

“This scheme is a further initiative in that direction. It will assist existing organic processors meet the growing demand for organic food, both in Ireland and abroad.”

The scheme will open in tranches; this first tranche will open from June 1 to July 31. The next tranche will open from August 1 to October 31.

Copies of the terms and conditions of the grant scheme, together with application forms, are available from the Organic Unit, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford, and online.

Over €1m issuing to over 1,300 farmers

Last month, payments of over €1 million under the Organic Farming Scheme commenced issuing to over 1,300 farmers.

At present, there are 1,530 organic farmers participating in the scheme and annual payments amount to approximately €9 million.

95% of farmers accepted the offer of an extension of their contract in December 2020.

Ireland’s share of total agricultural land currently under organic production is around 2% (74,000ha), one of the lowest in Europe.