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'There is Real Potential for Growth in the Organic Food Sector' - Shane McEntee TD

- Minister of State  Discusses Organic Sector Opportunities and Issues with Irish Organic Farmers and Growers’ Association -

Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine discussed a range of opportunities and issues in the Organic Sector with a delegation from the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA). The meeting took place this morning at the Department offices in Dublin.

The delegation included Dr Sinead Neiland, Chairperson of IOFGA, Mr Desmond Thorpe, Organic Farmer, Sean Clancy, Clanwood Organic Farm and Grace Maher, IOFGA Development Officer.

Having discussed a wide range of topics including education, GM, CAP Reform and the Organic Farming Action Plan, the Minister emphasised that even in these difficult times, there is real potential for growth in the Organic Sector. While the Minister noted that the value of the organic market in Ireland had decreased from €124m in 2009 to €100m at end of February, 2011, he highlighted the fact that an additional €25m approximately is earned through direct organic sales viz farmers markets, box schemes, farm gate sales and individual websites.

"Consumer confidence in the integrity of our organic produce is vital. I believe that the five Organic Control Bodies in Ireland play a critical role in safeguarding the integrity of Irish Organic Produce and therefore its market potential", the Minister of State said. "There are lucrative markets both at home and abroad for Irish Organic produce and I urge farmers to avail of the opportunities that clearly exist".

Note for Editor:

The Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association has been active in the field of organic certification for more than 25 years. Their activities are accredited by the Irish National Accreditation Board according to EN 45011 (ISO 65), which is the international standard for certification. IOFGA have been approved in Ireland to inspect and certify to Council Regulation (EC) 834/2007, which came into force on 1 January 2009, replacing Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2092/91.

There are five Organic Control Bodies operating in Ireland namely IOFGA, Organic Trust Ltd, the Institute of Marketecology, Global Trust Certification Ltd and BDAA Demeter UK Ltd.

In the home market, up to 70% of organic fruit and vegetables are imported. The European organic food and drink market, valued at €18.7bn in 2009 has forecasted revenues of €30.5bn for 2016.

Date Released: 29 September 2011