Organic scheme balancing payments to be made over coming weeks

Balancing payments under the Organic Farming Scheme have commenced and will continue over the coming weeks, according to Minister of State Andrew Doyle.

These payments represent the final 15% of the 2018 payment, and is being paid earlier than it was last year.

The scheme is the primary support for organic farmers under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

I am very pleased to announce that balancing payments of nearly €1 million under this scheme have commenced to 1,200 organic farmers. The remaining payments will continue to be issued over the coming weeks.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the scheme has seen a two-fold increase in organically farmed land in Ireland.

Currently, there are 1,588 farmers in the scheme, who manage a combined 72,000ha of land. Annual payments under the scheme amount to over €10 million, the department says.

“The Organic Farming Scheme is a key support measure that assists farmers in their conversion to organic farming and allows them to avail of the growing market opportunities that clearly exist for organic food,” Minister Doyle said.

He added: “Together with the high-level strategy for the sector which we published earlier this year, the Irish organic sector is enjoying record levels of investment from this Government and is well positioned to grow further in the coming years.”

Market opportunities

Earlier this year, Minister Doyle said that the organic sector in Ireland would be driven by “market opportunities”, as he launched a seven-year strategy for the development of the sector.

At the time he said: “We know that growth opportunities for the sector both nationally and internationally are significant and this strategy will help the Irish sector realise its potential.”