The formation of a new Organic Forum to grow the organic sector in Ireland was announced by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Senator Pippa Hackett, on Monday.
The forum will be chaired by Kilkenny man and former director of Bord Bia, Padraig Brennan, and will hold its first meeting Wednesday 13 April 2022.
The immediate focus of the forum will be on the continued implementation of the National Organic Strategy 2025 and any related actions and supports necessary to remove the barriers to the growth of the sector.
The other 23 members of the new Department-formed organic group include a range of stakeholders from the farming and food processing sectors, organic certification bodies and relevant state agencies. These include:
Tom Starr, Arrabawn.
Niamh Jinks, Aurivo.
Úna Ní Bhroin, Beechlawn Organic Farm.
Seamus McMenamin, Bord Bia.
Catherine Morrison, Bord Iascaigh Mhara.
Annie Flahavan, Flahavans.
Nicola O’Connell, Glanbia.
Vincent Cleary, Glenisk.
John Purcell, Good Herdsmen.
Alisha Ryan, ICMSA Farm and Rural Affairs Committee.
Fergal Byrne, ICSA Organics Committee.
John Curran, Irish Farmers Association.
Teresa Morrissey, IFA Aquaculture.
Kathryn Roche, Irish Country Meats.
Henry O’Donnell, Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association.
Gillian Westbrook, Irish Organic Association.
Dermot Callaghan, Office of Government Procurement.
Gillian Richardson, Macra na Feirme.
Sean McGloin, National Organic Training.
Colin Keogh, Organic Trust.
Sinéad Moran, Talamh Beo.
Elaine Leavy, Teagasc.
Announcing the forum, Minister Hackett said: “The formation of this high-level group will build upon the excellent work in the National Organic Strategy 2019 to 2025 and continue to advance further some of the main actions which are regarded as priorities for development of the sector.
“This is a sector which has a central role to play in increasing future wellbeing and reducing the harmful effects of the climate and biodiversity crises. The reason each individual member of the forum has been invited to take part is because I believe their experience and expertise can contribute to the solutions. We need to drive the growth of the organic sector.”
The Government has set a target of 7.5% land coverage for organics in Ireland and the minister is proposing a budget of €256m under the next CAP to deliver this. This is 500% larger than the budget for the current scheme.
Minister Hackett said the forum will meet at least quarterly and that she looks forward to hearing from the group on the relevant issues and necessary actions need to drive organic growth.
The National Organic Strategy is available here.