No plans to reopen Organic Farming Scheme in the near future

There are no plans to reopen the Organic Farming Scheme in the near future, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has confirmed.

However, an opportunity may arise later in the year – depending on the outcome of an assessment, he added.

Responding to a recent parliamentary question from Fianna Fail TD Eamon Scanlon, Minister Creed explained that the current organic scheme in the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020 is fully subscribed and has used all available funding.

It was therefore closed and I currently have no plans to reopen it on the basis that overall funding for the RDP is fully committed.

“A new Organic Sector Strategy Group was established in March of this year by my department. This new group is tasked with developing a strategy for the development of the organic sector for the period up to 2025.

“The terms of reference of the Organic Sector Strategy Group include an assessment of the case for a targeted reopening of the Organic Farming Scheme, looking to best economic and environmental outcomes.

Also Read: New Organic Sector Strategy Group kicks into gear

“I expect to have the group’s recommendations well before the end of this year and this will be the next opportunity to examine the issue,” he said.

As it stands, just over 1,400 farmers have received their 2017 advance payments under the Organic Farming Scheme; this equates to approximately €6.79 million in payments issued. These payments commenced in December 2017.

Previously, the minister outlined that there are currently 72,000ha of land under organic production in Ireland at present.