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Irish organic growers double sales through EU project

Image by photoAC from Pixabay

Eleven Irish organic growers increased their sales volume by 112% between 2017 and 2020

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Horticulture

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13 January 2022 | 0

Eleven Irish certified organic vegetable and fruit producers who participated in an EU European Innovation Partnership (EIP) project saw their year-on-year sales of organic vegetables increase by 20% since 2015.

Between 2017 and 2020, the growers that participated in the project, known as ‘Maximising Organic Production Systems’ (MOPS), managed to increase their sales volume by 112% – from €3.8 million to €8.2 million. The MOPS growers also saw a 62% increase in the supply of Irish-grown organic horticultural fresh produce to retailers.

This comes from a report, published by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Pippa Hackett, which outlined the main headline results for the project, in terms of organic horticulture production, market research, green manure field trials, dissemination and knowledge sharing.

Report findings include:

  • Since 2015 sales of organic vegetables have increased by 20% year on year
  •  Between 2017 and 2020, sales increased by 112% from €3.8 million to €8.2 million
  • The total cropping area for organic vegetables increased by 40% among the MOPS growers during the three years of the MOPS EIP Project
  • The MOPS growers worked together and increased sales among the group by 62% to increase supply to retailers
  • Irish retailers are keen to support the organic horticulture industry and the most popular Irish organic crops sold in the Irish multiple retailers are onions, potatoes and carrots;
  • A trail on green manures on one of the project farms found that short term green manures can readily and profitably be incorporated into Irish organic vegetable production;
  • A Growers report and technical on-farm videos were produced so that growing techniques may be replicated by other growers.

“Working together has to be the way forward for the organic sector and I am delighted to see how well co-operation delivered for these growers over the period of this MOPS EIP project,” Minister Hackett said. “It has been a fantastic success, with growers, researchers, agronomists and industry representatives working together to provide a huge insight into the path forward for organic producers. This is a sector for which I am very ambitious and for which I intend to deliver, so I fully intend to build on these insights and come up with mechanisms to further support organic growers.”

Minister Hackett continued: “The MOPS Project shows how growers can adapt to market demand and increase the supply of Irish organic vegetables and fruit. This is really vital evidence given our ambition for the sector. Funding for it has grown every year since I took office and with a five-fold increase secured in the next CAP, I think all growers can be confident they will be supported to replicate this success, as we increase our area under organic production in Ireland, in line with the Programme for Government.”

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