Written Answers. - Organic Farming.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

75 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if the expansion of the organic food sector will be encouraged by national growth targets for organically farmed land area which exist in other EU member states. [4706/00]

The organic farming sector is a fast developing sector and is reacting to the demands for produce produced in an environmentally friendly fashion. I expect the demand for organically-produced products will continue to grow and believe it is this increasing demand which will determine the area of agricultural land devoted to the organic production method. For that reason, it would not be appropriate to fix national growth targets for organically farmed land area. My primary concern is to build on the work already being done to ensure the integrity of Irish organic produce and to ensure that there are adequate supplies to meet demand.

I am confident that, with supports available through REPS and the proposals for continued funding for the sector included in the national development plan and the rural development plan for 2000-06, Irish organic producers will be well placed to meet the increasing market demand.