IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady has said it is vitally important that all Organic Scheme Payments are made to farmers as any delays have a serious cash flow impact on farmers who are committed to going down the organic route.
Joe Brady was speaking at a meeting with The Department of Agriculture in Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford this week
There are 1,642 farmers in the Organic Scheme. 2016 payments have only just been completed, and IFA got a commitment at this week’s meeting that 2017 payments will commence immediately with an 85% advance payment. The remaining 15% payment will be made to those not in GLAS in early 2018, with the remainder to be paid when inspections are completed for GLAS in March/April.
At the meeting, the delegation of organic farmers from counties Galway, Laois, Roscommon, Kildare and Tipperary impressed upon the Department officials the need to make payments on time and to introduce more flexibility into the scheme. IFA also sought the reopening of the scheme to new entrants and those who are committed to going organic. The scheme is worth up to €10.5m in 2017.
Currently 2% of land area of Ireland is covered under the Organic Scheme. 72% of farmers in the scheme are also in the GLAS scheme. In the RDP 2014/2020, €56m is allocated to Organics and IFA stressed that the Scheme is an important element to the farming sector.
IFA also raised concerns in relation to the difficulties in marketing organic beef and lamb and called for a strategic plan for the sector.