The Irish government wants to promote the expansion of organic farming. It is intended to contribute to an Organic Strategy Forum comprising of 24 experts in agriculture and food processing, organic certification bodies and responsible state authorities.
The body’s main mission is to implement Ireland’s Biostrategy 2025. Experts should analyze what steps should be taken to forcibly convert farms to organic farming and what barriers should be removed.
The Dublin government’s goal is to increase the organic land ratio from just 2% to 7.5% by 2027. The new board is chaired by Padreig Brennan, former director of Meat, Food and Beverage.
“Great Opportunities Not Used”
At the kick-off meeting, Pippa Hackett, Secretary of State for the Irish Department of Agriculture, underlined that there are “great opportunities not being used” for the organic sector in Ireland and internationally.
However, recognizing these opportunities requires proper support and innovation. Hackett stressed that farmers need to be prepared to embrace change and think outside the box. At the same time, he agreed that organic farming is not suitable for all farmers.
Support of farmers’ organizations
At the forum’s kick-off meeting, former organic Danish leader Paul Hombek outlined some of the lessons Ireland can learn from developments in Denmark. He noted that while Ireland and Denmark have similarly small populations, Denmark is the European leader in organic sales, with 80% of the population buying organic produce every week.
The area under organic farming in Denmark is 12%. The goal is to double this area by 2030. Hombeck also reported that Danish agricultural associations have given priority to organic farming, changing the perception of many farmers that this is just a niche area.
The expert described the merging of farmers, political decision makers, researchers, consultants, processors and marketers under one umbrella as “the key to Danish success”. In addition, it collaborates closely with consumers, retailers, restaurants and cafes to highlight the benefits of organic food and products.
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