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Minister Sargent Launches New Scheme for the Allocation of Additional Milk Quota to Organic Milk Producers

The Minister for Food and Horticulture at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr Trevor Sargent TD, today announced a new Scheme for the Allocation of Additional Milk Quota to Organic Milk Producers. Under the Scheme organic milk producers will be able to apply to the Department for up to 45,000 litres of additional quota from the National Reserve, which could potentially release about 750,000 litres of quota to organic producers in the current milk quota year.

The Minister said that he was delighted to announce the additional quota for organic milk producers, noting in particular that it had been facilitated by the recent 2% increase in quota from the 1st April 2008. A strong market already exists and continues to grow both at home and abroad for Irish organic dairy products. The basic raw material - organic milk - is in scarce supply in this country and the Minister said that the provision of additional quota will allow existing producers to expand and should also encourage new entrants into the sector.

"This development is in line with the Organic Action Plan 2008-2012, published by my Department in April this year. The Plan was my Department's response to the target in the Programme for Government for 5% of the land area to be under organic production by 2012. One of the specific actions in the Plan was to facilitate the expansion of the organic dairy sector by allocating additional quota and I am pleased that we are able to deliver on this so soon."

The Minister concluded by saying that application forms for the Scheme are now available the Department's website or from Milk Policy Division and he invited organic milk producers to apply at the earliest opportunity.

Date Released: 12 August 2008