The Irish organic sector is experiencing real momentum currently. In January of this year, the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) numbers doubled from 2,000 to 4,000 farmers and with that, the land being farmed organically has increased to 4% in Ireland, up from about 2% in 2022, according to Teagasc.

The increase in the number of participants in the OFS means Ireland has a new target of 10% of land to be farmed organically by 2027 under the CAP strategic plan.

This is up from the previous target of 7.5%.

Increased supports

To support the growing numbers of organic farmers, Teagasc and the Agricultural Consultants Associations (ACA) have increased their number of dedicated organic advisers across all regions of the country.

The Department of Agriculture has allocated €1.5m in funding from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) to support the promotion and market development of the Irish organic sector.


In the short term, there are challenges for the sector that Bord Bia is working to address with stakeholders across the industry.

Leakage continues to be a challenge for the organic sheep sector where organic lambs are being sold in mainstream markets.

In response to this, initiatives such as exploring the establishment of organic producer groups particularly for finishing organic sheep, informing customers around seasonality and dedicated organic mart sales are all being progressed to support organic sheep farmers.

Organics at a glance

  • At least 90% of farmers in the Organic Farming Scheme are from the beef and sheep sector.
  • 12,500 organic cattle were slaughtered in 2022, while 11,500 were slaughtered in 2021.
  • Approximately 17,000 organic sheep were slaughtered in 2022.
  • 50% of organic lamb production is exported while 55% of organic beef production is exported.
  • 23m litres of organic milk was produced in 2022.
  • 3,522ha of organic cereals were produced in 2022 up from 1,764 in 2017.
  • Consumer research

    Running from January to June, Bord Bia conducted a six-month market research project involving 2,500 Irish shoppers to learn more about attitudes to organic produce. Some of the key feedback included:

  • 88% of all Irish shoppers buy organic food and drink.
  • Eggs and vegetables are the largest categories for organic shoppers.
  • One in two of all shoppers buy organic dairy and/or organic meat on a weekly basis.
  • Over the next 12 months, 95% of all Irish shoppers will look to maintain or increase their level of organic consumption. Of those, 45% of all shoppers plan to increase their level of organic purchases.
  • Growing the market for organic produce

    In Ireland, to help build the awareness of Irish organics for Irish shoppers, Bord Bia will be launching its first national organic marketing campaign in the autumn.

    The focus of this campaign will be to demonstrate the quality and value of Irish organic food and drink while noting that Ireland is on a journey to produce more organic food over the next decade.

    The campaign will be rolled out in October 2023 and include multiple consumer touchpoints across online, digital, print, radio and brand ambassador activities.

    Export markets

    It is expected that over 75% of Irish organic beef and lamb production will be exported by 2027.

    For Irish organic dairy, over 90% of organic farmhouse cheese will be exported in this same period.

    The key markets for this growth will be in the UK and continental Europe in the short- to medium-term. It is predicted that in the long term, international markets such as the Middle East, the US and South East Asia, will become more prominent for Irish organic food and drink exports.

    EU funding

    In April, Bord Bia submitted an application to the EU for a €2.7m co-funded campaign to promote Irish organic beef and lamb in four export markets of Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Austria.

    If successful, this campaign will kick off in March 2024 and run for three years. The target will be trade buyers and the plan includes trade shows, bringing buyers and trade media to Ireland, and the establishment of organic meat academies.

    These industry-focused events with Irish organic experts will demonstrate and educate export trade customers on the quality and benefits of Irish organic meat.