An increased allocation to €44m for organic farming was among a suite of measures announced today by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney.

The announcement was made as part of the final detail of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP), 2014-2020 which also outlines the range of supports and schemes which will underpin sustainable growth in rural Ireland in the coming years.

Following on from the recent consultation process, a significantly increased budget of €44m is being allocated to the Organic Farming Scheme in order to support growth in the sector more effectively.

In addition, a dedicated Capital Investment Scheme for the organic sector has been included in TAMS II.

All rates of payment are being increased: the standard rate of payment is €220/ha for conversion with a maintenance rate of €170/ha, with higher rates of €300 (conversion) and €200 (maintenance) applying for Horticulture operations, and €260 (conversion) and €170 (maintenance) for Tillage operations.

In addition, a top-up of €30/ha for red-clover is included. The higher horticultural rates will apply to the first six hectares only; thereafter the standard rate applies. For tillage farmers, the higher rate ceiling is 20 ha.

The draft RDP will now be submitted to the European Commission for approval.