There are currently 2,127 organic operations in Ireland and 1,700 of those are farmers.

There is also 72,000ha under organic production, which is an increase of almost 50% since 2014.

The majority are involved in beef or sheep, with lower number in tillage or dairy.

Andrew Doyle said the rise of shopper regularly buying organic is evidence of growing public awareness of the organic brand.

“There is clear potential for growth in this sector.

“We need to focus on how we can further grow our share of that market by exploring opportunities such as increasing our overseas presence.”

The organic sector is small in Ireland in relation to the agriculture sector as a whole, but Bord Bia figures indicate a year on year 23% rise sales for organic food in the major multiple outlets.


The minister also told the Seanad of the challenges Brexit poses, as the UK is an important market for organic produce.

“Both countries are producing organic food to harmonise EU regulatory standards.

“Any deviation from these harmonised standards could lead to a disruption in trade in the short term with potential increased bureaucracy and costs to exporters.”

He added that the area of organic food will be monitored closely as the process for negotiating Brexit begins.

The demand on the global market has continued to rise over recent years, with organic agriculture products up by some 355% from 2000 to 2015, climbing from €16.8bn to €76.7bn.

Read more

New payments for NI organic farmers

The boom in the organic sector