Irish farmers applied for the Irish government's organic farming scheme in record numbers between October and December last year. 

2,100 farmers applied for the government's Organic Farming Scheme last autumn, the most since the scheme was launched Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, announced. 

The scheme provides financial incentives for organic farmers and aims to triple Ireland's organic land by 2027. 

Hackett said in a statement that the launch of the Organic Strategy Forum last year had played a significant role in the rise of applicants to the scheme. 

She added that the forum has played a key role in identifying practical solutions to some of the barriers to the growth of the sector.

"One of the priorities of the forum was to increase the critical mass of the organic sector and this was reflected in the record number of 2,100 new applications in Autumn 2022 to join the Organic Farming Scheme," Hackett said in a statement. 

"Development of new market opportunities for our increasing organic output is a clear priority for all of us this year. This will be a key focus of mine in 2023, including leading a trade mission with Irish companies to the world’s largest organic trade fair, Biofach in Germany, next month." 

Padraig Brennan, chair of the Organic Strategy Forum, said the ever-increasing focus on the environment will lead to the continued development of organic farming in Ireland and added that the forum's expertise will play a key role in that development. 

The forum is made up of stakeholders from the farming and food processing sectors, organic certification bodies, and state agencies. 

The forum is focusing on the implementation of the National Organic Strategy, which aims to make 7.5% of Ireland's farming land organic by 2025.