Analyses of the organic value chain in Ireland
Dan Clavin & Dr Yan Jin, Teagasc led this research in which a value chain mapping approach was undertaken using organic administrative data to understand the structure of the organic value chain, examining the distribution of organic farms in relation to their production systems
This research also examined the distribution of organic farms in relation to the categories of animals produced.
High number of suckler farmers, few finishers and few tillage
The study shows a disproportionately high share of suckler producers who rear and wean beef calves, selling them through marts and farm-to-farm sales. Relatively few farms have the capacity (land, facilities, knowledge, technical capacity re legumes and organic cereal crops), to specialise in fattening or finishing animals for the meat market, while few tillage farmers have converted to organic production, which may result in supply gaps for organic winter forage.
In addition, organic processing capacity is limited with few dedicated organic cattle mart sales and processors within the primary organic production regions, leading to spatial value chain imbalances. The study confirms that these issues in combination result in ‘leakage’ of animals
from the organic to the non-organic beef system.
Deeper analysis undertaken in the H2020 LIFT project quantified the level of organic leakage as 17% in 2015. However, leakage rate varies, as it depends on the livestock finishing capacity, feed prices, animal sale prices and processing capacity in any given year.
Further LIFT analysis examines the economic impact of this leakage, showing that the organic value chain generates higher value than the conventional.
These analyses provide a basis to work with industry partners to consider institutional solutions to improve the effectiveness of the organic value chain to match unspecialised farms with finishers in better agronomic regions, spatially optimising the development of production, processing and sales.
This article is taken from the Underpinning Organics - Abstracts of Selected Teagasc Research booklet
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