Funding for organic conversion now available in NI

Funding for organic conversion and maintenance available now in Northern Ireland
Funding for organic conversion and maintenance available now in Northern Ireland

Financial support is on offer to Northern Irish farmers and landowners converting to organic as the market continues to thrive in its eighth consecutive year of growth.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) scheme’s funding application window opens for applications Monday 19 August and will close on Friday 20 September 2019.

Farmers and landowners with a DAERA category one or two Business ID and at least three hectares of land that are eligible for Basic Payment are able to apply.

The funding for organic conversion comes after Soil Association Certification’s Organic Market Report 2019 revealed the market to now be worth £2.33 billion following a 5.3% growth in sales in 2018.

The latest Nielsen Scantrack data sales shows continued growth of a further 4% so far this year.

Martin Sawyer, Soil Association Certification CEO, said: “Organic farmers in Northern Ireland are leading the way in innovation and we’re really encouraged to see young farmers emerging to try new things that benefit both their business and the environment.

“We expect post-Brexit policy to drive some major long-term changes with sustainability and diversification going to become much more important, so this is a really important moment in time to convert to organic.”

It comes amid rising public demand for organic across the UK with people becoming ever more aware of how their food is produced.

Mr Sawyer added: “We are now in our eighth consecutive year of market growth for organic in the UK, so there are good emerging long term opportunities for farmers who want to meet that rising demand.”