Ireland’s target to convert 7.5% of all farm land into organics by 2030 should be "relatively easy", Minister of State for land use and biodiversity in the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett told the Irish Farmers Journal at Biofach in Germany this week.
Minister Hackett opened the Origin Green Ireland stand at Biofach this week, which is the world’s leading trade fair for organic produce.
“When you look at the targets at EU level, they are quite ambitious, whereas ours should be relatively easy to obtain.
“The German ambition is to go from 10% to 30% by 2030 and they seem quite confident that they can do that, so it’ll be good to follow," she said.
She added that it was comforting to have European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski speaking about the importance of organics at Biofach on Tuesday.
The Commissioner said that more organics would mean farmers are less dependent on unsustainable inputs.
Minister Hackett said there “was a lot of sense” in this statement.
“Fertiliser is crippling at the moment and organic farmers are sheltered from that,” she added.
The demand seen at Biofach for Irish produce from organic German retailers was “reassuring”, the minister said.
“We met with Denree and Alnatura yesterday and the gentleman from Denree said that whatever beef you’ve got, we want it.
“They’ve been working with Good Herdsmen for quite a while, just not enough.
“It’s reassuring because that’s what we’ve been hearing, yet, on the ground, farmers seem to think there is no market for produce.
“Denree are the biggest stand-alone organic retailer in Germany and we are only talking about Germany here,” she said.
He indicated a strong desire for cheddar cheese also, she added.
Cheese was also of interest to Alnatura, another chain of organic retailers in Germany, she explained.
"Denree has hundreds of stores and in Ireland we don't have anything like that. From everything I've heard at Biofach, the market is there," she added.