Organic farmers set up new group
Organic livestock farmers have formed a new organisation called the Organic Farmers Representative Body.
The new group believes that their interests are not being adequately represented and that their inspection fees under the existing organic body are too high.
Farmer members met with Ireland East MEP Mairead McGuinness last week, who said she was alarmed to hear that organic beef and lamb producers believe there is no future unless better supports are introduced.
Food Harvest 2020 set a traget of having 5pc of land under organic production. However, little more than 1pc of land is currently under organics.
The Organic Farmers Representative Body claim farmers are leaving organic production after just five years because the costs are not fully covered by the market price.
"Some exit before the five years are over and find they are being faced with demands from the department to pay back any supports received while in the scheme," said Ms McGuinness.
The new body is calling for their annual certification fees to be halved to a maximum of €200 for holdings up to 20ha.
IOFGA's general manager, Gillian Westbrook, responded by claiming Irish certification costs are in line with European averages.