Danes on organic tour
Over 50 organic farmers from Denmark arrive in Ireland today to begin a three-day tour of Irish organic farms and businesses.
The tour begins with a farm walk hosted by Kilcock farmer Alan Mooney, who produces organic beef and tillage.
Over the coming days, the 52-strong group will travel to the west of Ireland and visit farms in Connemara, aquaculture businesses, organic hill farms and some specialist organic dairy producers.
Their itinerary will include trips to Connemara, St Tola goats' cheese producers in Inagh, Co Clare, and Mossfield Farm, in Co Offaly, producers of award-winning cheeses.
The visit is being orchestrated by IOFGA and will include a meeting with Minister of State Shane McEntee today. Organic farming in Denmark is run on a significantly larger scale than here in Ireland. Danish organic farms run from 200-500ha in size, compared to the average Irish organic farm of 34ha.
However, the Danish organic sector is much more reliant on bulk sales to supermarkets than the Irish industry, which features direct selling of value added products to consumers. Danish farms are also usually focused on one single product, in contrast to the mixed nature of Irish farms.
"The Danes are interested in seeing how Irish farmers add value to their organic produce," said Grace Maher, of IOFGA. "They also want to study how direct selling through farmers' markets, artisan sales and independent shops works over here."