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Minister Sargent Welcomes Continued Support for the Organic Sector in Budget

Trevor Sargent TD, Minister for Food and Horticulture at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, has welcomed the provision in today's Budget for continued support for organic farming. The Minister said that in the current very serious economic situation, where tight controls on spending were a necessity, he was pleased to maintain existing levels of funding for the sector.

Minister Sargent stated that the funding available under the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 provides ample opportunities for farmers to convert to organic farming, and to receive support under the Organic Farming Scheme as well as the Rural Environment Protection Scheme.

"The continued financial support by the Government in this area underscores the Government's commitment to the target in the Programme for Government to increase the land area under organic production to 5% of total agricultural area by the year 2012," Minister Sargent said.

Minister Sargent reiterated his personal commitment to the sector and encouraged farmers to seriously consider the organic option. "Farmers are experiencing, first hand, enormous increases in their inputs cost with rising fertilizer, pesticide, insecticide and fungicide prices. When coupled with the fact that Ireland imports 70% of its organic demand, a major opportunity now exists for farmers to convert to organic and develop a new source of income", said the Minister.

Date Released: 14 October 2008