Organic should be budget priority

Trevor Sargent (centre) wants continued commitment to organic farming from Government
Trevor Sargent (centre) wants continued commitment to organic farming from Government

Trevor Sargent reiterated the need for continued development in the organic sector

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Brand Central

10 October 2008 | 0

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Speaking at the opening of the annual Irish Organic Farmers & Growers Association (IOFGA) Conference, which took place in Laois on 21 September, Minister Trevor Sargent stated that the Government’s  in the next budget is essential for government cohesion.

With sales up 82% (and 40% in the past two years alone), the value of the organic sector has been dramatically increasing, it was revealed at Bord Bia’s National Organic Conference in Waterford earlier in the month. The organic food market is now worth €104 million, up from €57 million in 2006.

Sharing his research into consumer attitudes towards organic food, Lorcan Bourke, Bord Bia, revealed that 52% of Irish consumers (some 1.04 million people) claim to buy organic, the majority of whom do so on account of its health credentials. The research showed that sales in fresh/chilled, frozen and ambient organic products increased by 34.1%, 30.1% and 21.4% respectively in 2007, and that an average of 45% of Irish consumers bought an organic product in the last month.

However, in spite of the positive trends, “There are signs that the growth is slowing down,” says Bourke, who indicated a growth rate decline of approx 14% in the last six months. In his study, the perception that organic product is more expensive was the most common reason (77%) for not purchasing.

However, at the 2008 National Organic Awards, at SHOP in the RDS, Dublin, this month, Trevor Sargent remained positive about the sector, saying: “The future is bright for organic food and farming in Ireland.” Having just announced a new scheme to allocate additional milk quota to organic producers, the minister said Ireland will be able to increase its organic dairy output. Good news for producers of the sector, including Glenisk, which has moved from niche to mainstream over the past year or so. Glenisk took the Overall National Organic Award 2008 for its Irish Organic Butter.

 

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