Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, today announced the reopening of the Organic Processing Investment Grant Scheme (OPIG).

This tranche of the scheme has a budget of €1.5 million to support investments in the Irish organic processing sector.

This brings to €3mn the grant aid available to organic processors in 2024.

 

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Announcing the scheme, Minister Hackett said:

Earlier this year I opened OPIG with a new higher 60% grant rate and a budget of €1.5mn. Due to unprecedented demand, I am now delighted to announce a further €1.5mn is being made available for the scheme.

Following the publication of The Green Public Procurement Strategy and Action Plan 2024-2027 the State now has a target to purchase 10% organic when procuring food.

We need to make sure as much of this as possible is Irish organic food

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Minister Hackett continued

I know from talking to processors that there is significant interest in the OPIG scheme, which will open on 14th May and remain open until 14th June.

This scheme, along with the ongoing work of Bord Bia and the entire sector demonstrates to organic farmers that we are making every effort to ensure there will be strong demand for their produce in both domestic and international markets.

There is a growing momentum behind organic farming, with an additional 1000 farmers making the decision this year to farm organically, meaning we now have over 5,000 organic farmers in Ireland.

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We want to ensure that a market premium is obtained for organic output.

Investing in our processing sector, which allows organic processors to increase efficiencies and capacity, is key to this.

And for any farmer actively considering converting to organics, or if you are curious about what is involved, I would strongly encourage you to attend an organic farm walk this summer.

The OPIG scheme provides funding to processors who wish to invest in developing facilities for the processing, preparation, grading, packing and storage of organic products.

Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte said:

There is definitely tremendous interest in the OPIG scheme, which opened on 14th May and remain open until 14th June 2024.

Organic farming is a rapidly growing sector of agriculture, driven by consumer demand for healthy and sustainable food options.

This method prioritises natural practices, avoiding synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. The benefits are numerous.

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Organic farming fosters healthier soil through crop rotation, cover crops, and compost, leading to increased fertility and reduced erosion. This, in turn, benefits the environment by promoting biodiversity and reducing water pollution.

Consumers seeking chemical-free produce are willing to pay a premium for organic goods, making it a potentially profitable path for farmers.

Organic farming offers a win-win situation, promoting both environmental health and economic opportunity and I would encourage farmers to attend organic farm walks this summer.

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