IOA organic conference examines potential areas for development of the sector

IOA organic conference examines potential areas for development of the sector

The IOA annual organic conference on February 5th explored a multitude of ways in which the sector can expand and develop in the coming years. Gillian Westbrook, General Manager, IOA in her presentation examined the variety of per hectare payments that organic producers are paid across Europe and highlighted the reasons for the variability’s shown. “In the IOA Rural Development Submission, we explored the six priority measures and recommended how organic farming can deliver on these measures. We are looking forward to an enhanced discussion in this area in the coming months as we demonstrate how organic farming delivers on public goods, a major driver behind the current CAP reform” she stated.

Stephen Briggs, a director of Abacus Organic Associates in the UK gave a detailed presentation on how agro-forestry works. He also illustrated how he uses this “new purpose built farming system” on his own farm where he foregoes 20 tonnes of grain for 60 tonnes of apples each year from his agro-forestry orchard. There are both economic and environmental benefits from agro-forestry and obvious benefits for humans and livestock in this “climate smart approach for farming”. Agro-forestry is widely used around the world in both organic and conventional farming systems with remarkable results in improved productivity from the same land area.

This theme was explored in further detail by Dr. Colin Sage from UCC, who gave a passionate presentation about the challenges facing the word in terms of food security with increased pressure on the food system due to climate change, a growing population combined with global land grabbing. The issues of obesity and food waste were also mentioned and nutrition transition and dietary changes in the global south. Dr. Sage outlined how “organic farming demonstrates ecological thinking and how it is holds the most legitimacy as an alternative paradigm” as it has been around for so long. Food for thought indeed!

The IOA AGM preceded the annual conference and IOA would like to thank outgoing board members Claire O Connor and Kitty Scully and welcome Dominic Leonard, Kenneth Keavey and Thomas O Connor onto the board of directors.


For more information please contact;

Gillian Westbrook

General Manager IOFGA

Tel 087 7819967


Grace Maher

Development Officer IOFGA

Tel 087 6125989