ifoam'96 ifoam'96
Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
EcoWeb Denmark

Organic World

Ireland: The Organic Centre in Leitrim O9

Alston, Rod1; Willer, Helga2

1) Organic Centre, Eden Plants, Rossinver, IRL-Leitrim, 2) Stiftung Ökologie & Landbau, Weinstraße Süd 51, D-67098 Bad Dürkheim

Until today the Republic of Irelands economy is highly dependent on agriculture. Twenty-two per cent of its exports are agriculture based, and agriculture still constitutes almost nine per cent of the gross domestic product. In an EU context Irish agriculture is still relatively input-extensive. There is, however, a notable East-West difference. Whereas in the East the farms are big and relatively well off, the West of Ireland is characterised by small farms, land often unsuitable to farming and poor economic performance. The Sligo/Leitrim area, where the organic centre is being established is one of the most depressed areas in Ireland and in the European Union. Most parts of the economy including agriculture are directly or indirectly dependent on EU money. The population decline is higher than in other parts of Ireland.
Organic Agriculture: In Ireland there are three organic producer associations: Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA), Demeter Standards/ Bio-dynamic Agriculture Association of Ireland (BDAAI) and Organic Trust Ltd.. On the 1st of January 1996 there were 462 organic farms with 11103,6 hectares. This constitutes 0.3 % of all farms and of the agriculturally utilised area.
Presently a substantial development is occurring on the Irish organic agriculture scene within the context of the Rural Environment Protection Scheme, Irelands agri-environment scheme (EC regulation 2078/92). Among the barriers to the development of organic agriculture are, however, the lack of information on organic production methods.
The Organic Centre in Leitrim is being established to meet the growing demand for information on organic gardening and farming. It aims to give new impulses to the development of the area and to the organic movement as a whole in Ireland.The centre will educate the public about organic farming and growing methods and their benefits to health and the environment. Information on organic growing and farming will be gathered and disseminated by the centre. The centre will house a library and will liase with organic organisations, government bodies, organic producers and educational institutions. An important feature will be that the centre will demonstrate a type of land use appropriate to Leitrim conditions. Economically viable production for a growing market will be shown to be consistent with the preservation of the environment. The centre is expected to be largely self-financing as regards running costs in the first three years. The income will be generated by visitor income, course income, shop profits, produce sales, cafes and the friends of the centre.

Further information: Organic Centre, Norita Clesham, Rossinver,Leitrim, Ireland

Organic Addresses in Ireland: Bio-Dynamic Agriculture Association of Ireland (BDAAI) and Demeter Standards Company, Babs McMullen, Kilderry, Peterswell, Co. Galway, Tel.: 00353-91-34138

Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Organic Unit, Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, Tel.: 01/678011 Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA), Noreen Gibney, 56 Blessington Street, Dublin 7, Tel.: 00353-1-8307996, Fax: 00353-1-8300925

Friends of the Organic Trust, Manfred Wandel, Trawlebawn, Bantry, Co. Cork, Tel.: 00353-27-50710, Fax: 00353-027-51894

Organic Trust, Bridget King, Killeen, Dunsany, Co. Meath, Tel.: 00353-46-26165

Alston, Rod (1993), The North Leitrim Vegetable Growers Cooperative. In: Community Enterprise, Vol. 7

Willer, Helga and Desmond A. Gillmor (1992): Organic Agriculture in the Republic of Ireland. In: Irish Geography; Vol. 25 (2), pp. 149-159