'Beef and lamb is not the only show in town'
Published 24/08/2016 | 02:30
The profile of the Irish organic farming sector is similar to conventional farming, with beef being the primary product produced.
While trade with the UK is obviously a concern, it is worth noting that last year sales to the UK were just 12pc of the organic trade. It is important that processors look to other European countries who are keen to source high-quality organic beef as there is a lot of potential to increase sales into these markets. The organic lamb trade is more difficult as overall lamb consumption is falling, making it a harder product to market.
The organic seafood sector is charging ahead in Ireland with up to 70pc of salmon farmed in Ireland carrying an organic logo. It is a world leader in terms of production, and lessons could be learned by land-based producers.
High production costs off the West coast of Ireland meant that in order to be profitable, the industry needed to look to premium markets. Hence they looked at the organic market, and it has proved to be a very successful move. For farmers who are experiencing increased production costs, the premium market really is their only option.
If Ireland significantly increased its organic land base, it would certainly give more credence to our "green credentials".
Birgitta Hedin-Curtin originally hails from Sweden but has lived in Ireland for many years now. In 1989, herself and her husband Peter established the Burren Smokehouse in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare.
"In my business, quality and a consistent local supply is everything, and for that reason we use organic salmon. We run a small smokehouse in the Burren, where we marry traditional Irish smoking techniques with Scandinavian ways.