IRELAND: Strong retail sales move organic to ag front

October 10, 2003, -- Irish Examiner: Ireland will implement a national marketing strategy for the organic sector to raise the sector’s profile among consumers and encourage farmers to opt for organic production, the Irish Food Board Bord Bia announced at the national organics conference in Portumna, Co Galaway. Michael Duffy, Bord Bia CEO, made the announcement shortly after it was revealed that retail sales of organic products in Ireland have reached and estimated 38 million Euros for 2003.

Conference attendee, Minister of State Noel Treacy expressed his optimism for organic agriculture in Ireland, predicting that recent changes in EU Common Agricultural Policy would favor the organic sector by putting greater emphasis on rural development and the shifting emphasis from quantity to quality production.

"Ireland, with its clean green image and generally extensive system of farming, is well positioned to attract large-scale commercially minded farmers to organic production," he said.

Lisa McAllister, chief executive of the Western Development Commission, said organic food production was particularly important to farmers in the west. "Challenges do face the industry and in bringing together producer groups in the west, the WDC has demonstrated that progress can be made through partnership," she said.

The conference was organized by Bord Bia and the Western Development Commission in association with the Department of Agriculture and Food. More than 200 delegates attended.