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Minister Sargent leads farmer fact finding visit to Organic Demonstration Farm

Mr Trevor Sargent TD, Minister for Food and Horticulture at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, today led a large group of horticultural farmers on a fact finding visit to the Organic Farm of Philip Dreaper near Birr, Co. Offaly.

Minister Sargent explained that the great interest in this visit shows that many farmers see that Organic Farming can provide a profitable option for farmers. He explained that "with the rising cost of oil, farmers are experiencing, first hand, enormous increases in their inputs cost with rising fertilizer, pesticide, insecticide and fungicide prices. When coupled with the fact that Ireland imports 70% of its organic demand, a major opportunity now exists for farmers to convert to organic and become more profitable. On his demonstration farm here in Offaly Philip Dreaper supplies large quantities of quality organic fruit and vegetable produce to large Irish retailers. Farmers from all over the country here today, can see that by employing best practice and high levels of mechanisation it is very possible to profitably produce quality fruit and vegetables on an Irish Organic Farm".

Today's visit was organised by Teagasc and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Notes

The current Programme sets an Organic Farming target of 5% for Government. In response the Department launched its Organic Farming Action Plan 2008-2012 in April 2008. The Action Plan has four main objectives; increase production in line with market trends, increase the knowledge base, develop the organic market at home and abroad, and encourage the development of public procurement opportunities for organic products. There are 64 actions identified in the Plan. The Plan can be accessed on the Department's website at http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/organics/OrganicFarmingActionPlan.pdf (pdf 1Kb)  

Date Released: 15 July 2008