Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
404. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the percentage of farmland and number of hectares he is targeting for organic production by 2030; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18042/21]
The organic sector in Ireland is a relatively small component of the overall agri-food sector with less than 2% of the land area under organic production. However, it is experiencing considerable growth at present with the area of land under organic production now at approximately 74,000 hectares, an increase of nearly 50% since 2014.
I am committed to continuing the implementation of the National Organic Strategy 2019-2025 which sets out ambitious growth targets for the sector by aligning it closely with the market opportunities.
The current Programme for Government target is to align the utilisable agricultural area under organic production in Ireland with the EU average of 7.5%.
The increase in land under organic production in recent years has been driven by the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS). I was pleased, therefore, to reopen the OFS this year with a budget of €4 million which should allow for a further 400 - 500 farmers entering the Scheme. The expected increase in area under organic production as a result of this reopening together with measures under the new CAP will assist in the achievement of these targets.