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Working party identify local Organic market worth over £1 million 10 July 2007

Agriculture Minister Phil Gawne is delighted by the progress of the Organic Working Party which is working to identify how best to facilitate the development of the organic sector on the Island.

Mr Gawne commented “The team have estimated that there is a potential retail market worth well over £1 million which Manx producers could realistically supply. This represents an exciting opportunity for those who wish to embrace the organic production system.”

He added “Knowing we are likely to loose the red meat derogation, it is imperative that our producers explore all opportunities and there is currently virtually no organic egg, poultry, pork, horticulture and cereal production on the Island. Our Organic team are now starting to consider how these sectors could be developed.”

He also commented “The team have identified that the organic land available on the island will more than double in the next two years and it is crucial that we use the land to produce high quality food which meets the needs of out local consumers. The scale of increase could risk oversupply of some products, so the team will be working to ensure produce is targeted at specific markets.”

He cautioned “The issue of the need for organic certification has been raised by many producers and the organic working party has concluded that this is an essential element. We need to ensure that each stage in the food chain is properly certified, to ensure that the Island’s consumers can be confident that they are getting what they pay for.”

He added “The working party are acutely aware that this will add cost to some small businesses, though they believe this is essential to achieve a credible organic product. However they are also considering how producers can best be supported with these initial costs.”

The Organic Working Party is expected to release their interim report during the next month, which will outline progress and ideas to date, in order to seek the views of those involved throughout the food chain.

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