Meat and dairy processors have been allocated €1.7m to process organic produce.

The funding, provided for under the Organic Processing Investment Grant Scheme, has been announced by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that approximately €500,000 of the €1.7m will be drawn down from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) with the rest allocated from department resources.

Minister Hackett opened the scheme for applications at the organic strategy forum at Irish Country Meats (ICM) in Camolin, Co. Wexford on Wednesday.

‘Growing momentum’

The Minister described a “growing momentum” behind organic farming in Ireland where market opportunities must now be “maximised”.

“Investing in our processing sector, which allows organic processors to increase efficiencies and capacity, is key to this,” she said.

Minister of State of the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett.

Hackett explained that the Organic Processing Investment Grant Scheme provides funding to processors who wish to invest in developing facilities for the processing, preparation, grading, packing and storage of organic products.

ICM will benefit from new organic processing funding and its managing director John Walsh highlighted that the factory has been a “long-standing supporter of the organic sheep sector”.

“[We] worked to ensure that organic lamb has been preimiumised in the Irish and EU marketplace. We have attained listings in many of the finest retailers in our markets,” he added.

Brexit funding

On Monday, the organic sector secured €1m from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR).

Bord Bia has been allocated €1m BAR funding for the promotion and development of the Irish organic sector

Minister Hackett said this separate investment “will increase consumer awareness of organics and source new market opportunities for Irish organic food and drink”.

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Organic sector receives €1m in BAR funding