€1.7 million Organic Processing Investment Grant Scheme Now Open
Today, at a site visit by the Organic Strategy Forum to Irish Country Meats in Camolin, Co. Wexford, I was delighted to announce the opening of the Organic Processing Investment Grant Scheme (OPIG).
The scheme has a budget of €1.7m to support investments in the Irish organic processing sector.
There is a growing momentum behind organic farming with a doubling of the number of farmers farming organically this year. There are now 4,000 farmers farming organically and I am working intensively with all stakeholders to ensure that all market opportunities for this output are maximised. Investing in our processing sector, which allows organic processors to increase efficiencies and capacity, is key to this. I am pleased to attend the meeting of the Organic Strategy forum today and tour the excellent Irish Country Meats (ICM) processing facility here in Camolin, Co.Wexford which is a leader in processing and marketing of Irish organic sheepmeat.
The OPIG scheme provides funding to processors who wish to invest in developing facilities for the processing, preparation, grading, packing and storage of organic products. It is being partially supported by Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) funding.
John Walsh Managing Director Irish Country Meats added;
“As a supporter of this sector, we are delighted to welcome Minister Hackett and the members of the Organic Strategy Forum to our Camolin site to see first-hand the ongoing work and to discuss further opportunities for the growing sector. ICM are a long-standing supporter of the organic sheep sector and have worked to ensure that organic lamb has been preimiumised in the Irish & EU marketplace. We have attained listings in many of the finest retailers in our markets.”
The facility tour of Irish Country Meats was part of an Organic Strategy Forum meeting which was established by the Minister last year to further the development of the Irish organic sector. It is chaired by Padraig Brennan. The forum meeting focused on actions and initiatives to further develop the domestic and export market for organic produce. The recent announcement of €1mn BAR funding for the promotion and development of Irish organic food and drink was discussed and welcomed by members.
I am confident that the Organic Strategy Forum under the leadership of Padraig Brennan will continue to build upon the significant developments so far in 2022 and 2023. They have my full support and I look forward to another exciting year. I extend my thanks to Irish Country Meats and their professional team for hosting this event.
I anticipate significant interest from industry in the OPIG scheme. Along with the recently announced promotional funding it shows organic farmers that every effort is being to ensure there will be demand for their produce in both domestic and international markets.
Now is the time for farmers to make the choice to join the growing numbers of Irish organic farmers
The OPIG Scheme will open in tranches; this tranche being open from 24 May 2023 to 23 June 2023. Copies of the terms and conditions of the Grant Scheme, together with application forms, are available from the Organic Farming Unit, Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Johnstown Castle Wexford and on the Department’s website at gov.ie
This organic support scheme co-financed from the National Exchequer and through the European Commission’s Brexit Adjustment Reserve.
Applications to be received by post or email on or before 23 June 2023.
The terms and condition for the Scheme together with application forms are available on the Department’s website.
The Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) fund aims to provide financial support to the Member States, regions and sectors most affected by Brexit to deal with the adverse economic, social, territorial and, where appropriate, environmental consequences. Ireland, as the Member State most affected, has received a significant allocation of over €1 billion, or just over 20% of the entire Reserve.
The Designated Body for managing and deciding on the Reserve in Ireland is the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) and it is co-ordinating Ireland’s overall policy position on the BAR. The eligibility criteria set by the EU to qualify expenditure under the Reserve are stringent, and any proposed expenditure must demonstrate a direct link to negative impacts arising from Brexit.