A 60% grant rate will apply to investments funded by the Organic Processing Investment Grant Scheme (OPIG) in the new year, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett has announced.

The scheme has a budget of €1.5m to support investments in the Irish organic processing sector.

Minister Hackett said that there is a growing momentum behind organic farming, with a doubling of the number of organic farmers this year to 4,000.

It is of paramount importance, she added, that a market premium is obtained for organic output and investing in the processing sector, which allows organic processors to increase efficiencies and capacity, is key to this.

Developing facilities

The OPIG scheme provides funding to processors who wish to invest in developing facilities for the processing, preparation, grading, packing and storage of organic products.

“I anticipate significant interest from industry in the OPIG scheme which will open on 1 January and remain open until 31 January.

"This scheme, along with the recently announced promotional funding for Bord Bia, shows organic farmers that every effort is being made to ensure there will be demand for their produce in both domestic and international markets. Now is the time for farmers to make the choice to join the growing numbers of Irish organic farmers," she said.

The Minister concluded by reminding farmers that the closing date for the receipt of applications to the Organic Farming Scheme has been extended to Friday 15 December and that applications will continue to be accepted up to this date.