The organics scheme is very unfair to the cattle and sheep farmers who are willing to make the switch to organic, according to the Irish Sheep and Cattle Association (ICSA) organics chair Fergal Byrne.
“Increasing the funding to €21m annually and opening the scheme to new applicants again next year is a step in the right direction,” he said.
“The whole organics sector needs considerable investment and that must include the cattle and sheep sectors.
There is no doubt that Ireland can be a world leader when it comes to organic produce
“The most recent calls for applications under the Organics Scheme prioritised the tillage, dairy and horticulture sectors, while access for cattle and sheep farmers was restricted.
“There is no doubt that Ireland can be a world leader when it comes to organic produce but tapping into all new market opportunities is key,” Byrne insisted.
“Consumer studies across Europe suggest that the market opportunity is far greater than the size of the supply.
“It should no longer be a struggle for us to find markets for our organic beef and lamb supplies,” he said.