Ireland imports up to 70% of its organic commodities, so there is scope for expanding the organic market both at home and for export. In fact, 37% of all organic producers within the state are from the Western Region (www.bordbia.ie/aboutfood/organicfood/pages/organicfood.aspx).
Increasing consumer trends of healthy eating, functional foods and environmental concerns support projections of growing market demand for organic produce in the medium term. In addition, a strong growth in the UK and EU organic markets offers a key opportunity for Irish producers together with the continued increase in domestic demand.
Blueprint for Organic Agri-Food Production
The WDC has been involved in the organic agri-food sector since 2001 and has been at the forefront in promoting the need to support development in the sector. In 2001 we produced Blueprint for Organic Agri-Food Production in the West – the first systematic analysis of organic production in Ireland.
You can download Blueprint for Organic Agri-Food Production here.
The Western Organic Strategic Initiative (WOSI) was set up as a result of the Blueprint report and WOSI’s work resulted in the establishment of the Western Organic Network and Atlantic Organics Ltd. The WDC was also central to driving partners to secure INTERREG funding to allow delivery of these intiatives. Through its sales at farmers markets and retail outlets, Atlantic Organics Ltd, has shown that there is a domestic demand for value-added organic products, and Rossinver-branded products now include beef and lamb sausages, relish and oats. Bord Bia (the Irish food board) market research has also identified market opportunities in the following sectors:
- red meat (beef, lamb) and poultry;
- dairy products (yoghurts, cheese);
- and fruit and vegetables.
Western Development Commission’s Model of Rural Development
Because of the positive impact of WDC initiatives, this approach can be applied to progress other aspects of the organic sector throughout Ireland. The WDC documented the development process undertaken in the organic sector in the report Western Development Commission’s Model of Rural Development. In 2007 the WDC, together with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food supported a group of regional projects to carry out a strategic review of the organic agri-food sector in the Western Region. The WDC also provided funding for the projects to review achievements to date and from there they mapped out actions for the next three years.
You can download Western Development Commission’s Model of Rural Development here.
Website are available for organic players;