Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Questions (220)

Brendan Smith


220. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the level of increase in organic production on an annual basis since 2010; the incentives that are available to encourage organic food production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25679/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The level of increase in organic production on an annual basis since 2010 is not readily available. Based on the following statistics, however, there is clear evidence of an increase in organic production.

In 2010, there was 52,370 hectares of land under organic production. There is currently 72,000 hectares approximately under organic production.

From a dairy perspective, there were 27 organic dairy herds in 2012 compared to 45 organic dairy herds in 2018. In 2012, there was 41,000 organic cattle approximately compared to 59,000 organic cattle approximately in 2016.

With regard to sheep production, organic sheep represented 1.3% of total sheep production in Ireland in 2012 compared to 1.9% of total sheep production in 2016. In 2016, there was 2,304 hectares under organic cereal and pulse production. This figure increased to 2,426 hectares in 2017.

It is important to note that the Organic Strategy Group recommended a renewed focus on developing sector specific statistics. As a consequence, a value chain analysis to be carried out by Teagasc is one of the sector specific actions within the new Organic Strategy launched in January, 2019.

The suite of supports currently available, which have contributed to the growth of the Organic Sector include the Organic Farming Scheme, the TAMS Organic Capital Investment Scheme and the Organic Processor Investment Grant Scheme.