The Minister for Sustainable Transport, Horticulture and Planning, Ciaran Cuffe TD, reminded farmers that the closing date for applications for the Organic Farming Scheme is Monday 17 May. The deadline is fixed by EU Regulations and no applications can be accepted after that.
“Farmers should give serious consideration to joining this Scheme,” Minister Cuffe said. “There are real opportunities in the organic sector. In spite of the economic downturn, the demand for organic food is steady and will continue to grow. The Irish organic retail market was estimated to be worth €124 million in 2009, compared to €66 million in 2006 and €38 million in 2003.”
Farmers in REPS 4 can also join the Organic Farming Scheme, as can those applying for the new Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS). However farmers in REPS 3 with contracts ending on or after 31 May cannot apply for the Organic Farming Scheme this year. Details of the Organic Farming Scheme can be found on the website of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmingsectors/organicfarming/