Bord Bia has been awarded €2.2m by the European Commission to help fund a three-year organics drive in four EU countries, with Bord Bia itself to contribute an additional €500,000 to the campaign.

Due to begin in spring 2024, the campaign will look to market organic beef and lamb to consumers in Austria, Belgium, Germany and Sweden.

Bord Bia maintains that organic farmers in Ireland will benefit from the promotion, as the countries targeted have been identified as showing strong demand for and a reliance on imported organic produce.

Germany is Ireland’s largest export market for organic beef and lamb, with Belgium coming in second for organic lamb exports.

The campaign’s activities will include PR, advertising and trade fairs.

Bord Bia’s chief executive Jim O’Toole said that promotion and marketing campaigns have become an “integral component” of the agency’s work for Irish meat, dairy and horticulture.

“Through this co-investment, Bord Bia will intensify our support for the organic sector by focusing on four European markets, which we identified as having the highest growth potential for organic beef and lamb exports,” O’Toole commented.

Market returns

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue highlighted the need for organic markets to deliver returns for farmers when welcoming the announcement of EU funding.

Better promotion to export markets could help organic farming’s viability, Minister McConalogue said.

“This funding for promotion will raise understanding of pasture-fed organic beef and lamb through a targeted Bord Bia campaign,” he stated.

“Such promotion is important to ensure that organic farming returns an income from the market, thereby safeguarding organics as a viable option for the Irish farmers who choose to pursue it.

“It is an imperative for success that the ambition of both our new and existing organic farmers merits a return for their transition.”

Building opportunities

The new EU funding allocation shows that there are opportunities in the organic sector, according to Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett.

“This support will complement the €1.5m in Brexit Adjustment Reserve money allocated to Bord Bia this year for market research and the largest-ever Irish organic promotion campaign,” she said.

“We have undertaken a number of trade missions to organic trade fairs in Europe, and the feedback about the opportunities for Irish organic beef and lamb in the EU market are positive.”