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Minister Sargent Announces Outcome of Review of Organic Farming Scheme

MINISTER SARGENT ANNOUNCES OUTCOME OF REVIEW OF

ORGANIC FARMING SCHEME

 

Trevor Sargent TD, Minister for Food and Horticulture at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food today announced the outcome of the review of the Organic Farming Scheme, under which support is paid to farmers in the sector. 

 

"It is my intention, subject to the outcome of the estimates process, to re-open the Organic Farming Scheme from 1 January, 2010 with revised scheme conditions.  The amount of funding available for the Organic Farming Scheme will be determined later in the year when the Government are preparing the estimates for 2010", said Minister Sargent.

 

The Minister indicated that the Scheme conditions will be amended to incorporate completion of an approved training course, as an essential pre-requisite to joining the scheme.  He indicated that this would be a requirement solely for new applicants who have not previously participated in the Organic Farming supplementary measure of the Rural Environment Protection Scheme.  He emphasised that the cost of this course would have to be self-financed by the applicant as evidence of his/her commitment to the Organic Sector.

 

 "The submission of a detailed five year business plan by all new applicants, will also be required as part of the application process.  This will facilitate an assessment of the level of farming activity and sustainability of the business " stated Minister Sargent.

 

The Minister emphasised that these criteria will help to identify those applicants who were most likely to deliver increased organic output nationally. Minister Sargent stated "In particular it will target support to those operators who intend producing products which suit our climatic and infrastructural conditions and which are presently in deficit. It is my responsibility to ensure that what funding we have is used to bring maximum benefit and to realise the growing potential of organic farming in Ireland".

Date Released: 18 September 2009