Minister of State of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett welcomed the significant progress highlighted in the Organic Strategy Forum report published. The Report summarised the activities of the Forum in its first year of operation and was presented to the Minister by the Forum Chair, Padraig Brennan.
The Forum was established by the Minister to bring together all relevant stakeholders in the Organic sector to drive forward the development of the sector and tackle barriers to its future growth. The Forum comprises representatives from relevant State Agencies, farm bodies, organic food processors and organic certification bodies.
Minister Hackett stated, “the Organic Strategy Forum has played a key role in identifying practical solutions to some of the barriers to the growth of the sector. I commend the work of the Chair, Padraig Brennan and the stakeholders for their work in identifying both issues and solutions to allow us to build on the experienced and dedicated cohort of organic farmers and processors we have here in Ireland. One of the priorities of the forum was to increase the critical mass of the organic sector and this was reflected in the record number of 2,100 new applications in Autumn 2022 to join the Organic Farming Scheme. We will drive on with this now and reopen the scheme again before the end of 2023.”
“Development of new market opportunities for our increasing organic output is a clear priority for all of us this year. This will be a key focus of minein 2023, including leading a trade mission with Irish companies to the world’s largest organic trade fair, Biofach in Germany, next month.”
The priorities for the Organic Strategy Forum in 2023 are highlighted in the progress report and reiterate the requirement to further increase participation in organic farming over the coming years to capitalise on the significant uptake recorded in 2022.
Equally important priorities include:
- The co-ordination of organic supplies and reducing leakage
- Developing the market for Irish organic food
- Green procurement
- Infrastructure and the capturing of accurate organic production data
Chair of the Organic Strategy Forum, Padraig Brennan, concluded, “I would like to thank Minister Hackett for her strong support for the Organic Strategy Forum. The support and constructive engagement of the Forum members and their strong advocacy for organic farmers, producers and consumers ensures that we are well positioned to anticipate and proactively respond to the challenges and opportunities facing the organic food sector.”
“Given the rapidly evolving marketplace and the ever-increasing focus on the environment, the expertise and experience of Forum members will be decisive in maintaining an upward growth in the value of the organic food sector. I look forward to working in partnership with the department and the Forum members to ensure that the growth potential of this increasingly important sector is fully realised.”