Less than 2% of land used for organic farming in Ireland

Ireland ranks bottom of the table for organic farming in the EU

Farming, safety, action plan, HSA, Farm Safety Partnership, Pat Breen, Jim Phelan

Tractors at work saving silage on a farm in Co Kildare | File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

Less than 2% of agricultural land in Ireland is being used for organic farming, according to a new EU report.

New figures from Eurostat show that after Malta, we have the smallest percentage of total agricultural land devoted to organic farming of all 28 EU Member States, just 1.6%.

Only 73,000 hectares of Irish land is now devoted to organic production compared to just 48,000 hectares in 2010.

Ruth Deasy of the EU office in Dublin says we lag way behind countries like Austria and Sweden which lead the way in this sector with nearly 20% of available land (over 500,000ha) involved in organic farming.

Despite these findings, Ireland recorded a 53% increase in the amount of land used for organic farming compared to 2010 figures.

Organic farming combines the best environmental practices, a high level of biodiversity, the preservation of natural resources and high production standards based on natural substances and processes.

Organic farming made up 6.2% of the European Union’s total Utilised Agricultural Area (UAA) last year, with there being more than 11m hectares of certified area or area under conversion in 2015.

Spain, Italy, France and Germany registered the largest organic areas as well as the largest numbers of organic producers in 2015, the figures show.

Bord Bia released figures earlier this month showing a year-on-year increase of 23.7% in the value of organic grocery sales, bringing the total value to €142m.