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Organic farming scheme secures €37m in funding in Budget 2023

Increase in horticulture budget announced, with support continuing under Brexit Adjustment for the mushroom and seed potato sectors

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6 October 2022 | 0

Up to €500 million in funding will be specifically ringfenced for agri-environment schemes in Budget 2023, including a significantly increased allocation of €37 million for the Organic Farming Scheme. The government has said it is committed to bringing the total agricultural area under organic production to 7.5% by 2027.

“My department has implemented a range of policy measures over the past two years to increase participation in Organic Farming,” said Minister of State with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett.

“Even before significantly enhanced rates were announced for organics as part of the next CAP Strategic Plan, we saw a 20% increase in applications to join the Organic Farming Scheme in 2022 in comparison to 2021, bringing in an expected additional 17,000ha.

“Overall there has been an increase of 35% of land being farmed organically over the last two years. I believe that the additional funding announced as part of this budget will facilitate a further substantial increase in the area of land farmed organically in Ireland.”

It has been announced that there will be a further increase in horticulture budget to €10 million with support continuing under Brexit Adjustment for the mushroom and seed potato sectors.

“Our domestic horticultural growers play a vital role in producing safe, nutritious and local food in an environmentally sustainable manner,” said Minister Hackett. “I am committed to supporting our growers – the domestic horticulture sector is a sector of immense importance, and one that we want to protect and enhance.”

There will also be a 12% increase to €112 million to fund the new National Forestry Programme. The Minister said this funding will support those in the current Forestry Programme who continue to receive premiums and will fund those new forest owners who plant under the next Programme.

“We need to sustainably manage those forests we already have, and we also need to plant significant numbers of new forests. This increased budget allocation will encourage a healthy forestry sector which will help deliver on our climate, biodiversity, economic and recreational objectives. Our aim is to realise the ambition in our ‘Shared National Vision for Trees and Forests’, which anticipates the right trees in the right places for the right reasons with the right management. This strong funding allocation will help achieve that ambition.

Minister Hackett continued: “The new Programme will shortly go to public consultation as part of the Strategic Environmental Appropriate Assessment process. This will complement the extensive consultation we have already had on preparing the Shared National Vision, which informs the Forest Strategy currently in preparation. That consultation showed that there is a positive attitude among the public towards our forests, as well as a desire for the expansion of the forest estate.”

 

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