Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Tom Hayes announced the opening of the new grant aid scheme for the development of the organic off-farm processing sector earlier this week.

As part of the scheme, an investment of €5m will be made available to help further develop the sector. The scheme will run for the lifetime of the Rural Development Programme and will support investments for off-farm organic projects.

Processors will be able to apply for grants of up to €500,000 for investment in facilities for the processing, preparation, grading, packing and storage of organic products.

“Substantial support for organic farmers already exists through the new TAMS Organic Capital Investment Scheme which I launched recently, and this new off-farm scheme now offers similar support for the organic processing sector,” said Minister Hayes.

The PCF Council of Ireland welcomed the grant scheme, as it sees organic processing as a key component of the prepared consumer foods sector.

“This scheme will facilitate growth for organic producers and ultimately help build market share in an increasingly popular consumer market,” said a spokesperson for the council.