On August 22nd the Organic Farming Action Plan 2013 – 2015, was formally launched by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes. The plan was launched at the farm of Alan Jackson, Birr, Co Offaly, one of the Teagasc Organic Demonstration farms for 2013. The launch was followed by a farm walk, and then organic food prepared and served by Sean and Orla Clancy from Clanwood Organic Farm.
The plan was co-ordinated and developed by the Organic Focus Group, whose core remit is to develop the organic sector in Ireland. Members of the group are; Mel O Rourke (Chairman), Birgitta Curtin, Cait Curran, Dan Clavin, John Flahavan, John Paul Crowe, Lorcan Bourke, Padraic Connelly, Peter Young, Richard Galvin, Joan Furlong, Kevin McKeever, and John Purcell. The group was established in July 2012 with the stated objective of identifying solutions where possible and developing strategies to progress the Organic Sector for the benefit of all. One of the stated goals of the Organic Focus Group was to develop a new action plan that was more realistic and achievable. Consequently, this Organic Farming Action Plan 2013-2015 was produced by the Organic Focus Group following consultation with various sectoral representatives and is the culmination of their efforts. The timeframe to progress the sector specific actions are classified into three main categories: short-term, medium-term and long-term.
There are four main objectives of the action plan which are to;
- · Increase the production base in Ireland, with a view to replacing where possible imports with Irish organic produce
- · Promote awareness of the potential export market
- · Seek to develop sustainable export markets for Irish organic produce as supplies become available
- · Identify issues which are impeding the growth of the Organic Sector with an emphasis on developing solutions.
Speaking at the launch Minister Hayes, said “This Action Plan will be central to assisting our efforts to develop the Organic Sector to its full potential as recognised by the Food Harvest 2020 Report. The target of 5% of land area under organic production set out in the Food Harvest 2020 Report is indeed a challenging target that we must together strive to achieve. The Action Plan I am launching today is a very important element in this process and one that I hope all stakeholders will embrace”, he concluded.
Download the full plan here Organic Farming Action Plan