The increased payment rates under the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) have been announced by the Agriculture Department.
To take effect from January 1, 2023 – pending the approval of the European Commission on Ireland’s CAP strategic plan – drystock farmers on 70ha or less receive €300/ha with a payment of €250/ha during the initial two years of conversion Will happen. Three-five of the plan when the conversion is complete.
Dairy farmers switching to 70ha or less will receive €350/ha in-conversion, with a payment of €300/ha available with full organic status.
Farmers cultivating 1-70 hectares will receive €320/ha in conversion and €270/ha in full conversion; Whereas horticultural farmers in an area of 70 hectares or less will receive €800/ha and €600/ha upon completion of the conversion.
The full details of the enhanced payment rates are given in the table below:
In addition to the payment increase – with conversion from €220/ha and full organic status for the €170/ha dry stock and dairy farm – the department is seeking to introduce a new “participation payment” for farmers in the scheme of € . 2,000 in a year and €1,400 per year thereafter.
On the announcement Pippa Hackett, Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, said: “The proposed budget for this scheme under the next CAP is a five-fold increase over the current plan.
“Through the CAP Advisory Committee, the reconstituted Organic Strategy Forum and feedback from stakeholders, it has become clear that increased payment rates are needed for farmers to convert to and sustain organic farming.
“In addition, a new participatory payment is proposed to allow farmers to take advantage of additional advisory assistance and support as they adhere to organic farming standards.”
A total budget of €256m has been allocated to the OFS over the lifetime of the new CAP, as such, under the new payment rates, it is understood that a 40ha drystock farmer will see a 54pc increase in his total payout over five years. New scheme as compared to previous CAP.
The Green Party minister said there is a “widespread recognition” among stakeholders and industry that the environmental and socio-economic benefits of organic farming are “more essential than ever”.
“The newly increased rates reflect my commitment to ensuring that the government target of 7.5 percent of all organically cultivated land is achieved by 2030,” he said.
The EU Green Deal has set a target of organic farming of 25 pc of the EU’s agricultural sector by 2030. Ireland’s current organic area is about 2 pc of the agricultural area, about 100,000 hectares.