A RESEARCH partnership has been launched in Limerick Institute of Technology to prove the benefits of organic milk.
The Irish Organic Milk Producers (IOMP) and Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre Research (ABC) in LIT have come together for the project.
A total of 14 certified organic dairy farmers, involved in the sector for almost a quarter of a century, form the IOMP.
Chairperson Pat Mulrooney said as farmers using organic methods they have a thorough knowledge of the high quality of their product before it leaves the farm gate.
“However, once our product leaves the farm gate we have no control over it. It is therefore important that as the primary producers we maintain control over our product by adding value to it.
“This research partnership will prove the benefits of organic milk and allow us to advertise and market our unique product to consumers,” he said.
Former Food Minister Trevor Sargent TD, speaking at the launch, said the organic dairy sector has been very important in other European countries such as Austria.
It is leading the way for the development of the sector as the high demand for products convinced a lot of farmers to convert to organic dairy production.
Mr Sargent said the Government here is committed to developing the organic sector.
Minister for State Ciaran Cuffe is looking forward to working in this area.
“In 2009, we invested €8.7 million in the organic sector and we will continue to invest to ensure the sector expands to reach its full potential,” he said.
Dr Daniel Walsh and Dr Tracey Larkin, Shannon ABC, said the 12-week research project will examine samples of milk from the IOMP, conventional milk farmers and imported organic milk.
John Liston, research officer, IOMP, said it was delighted at the opportunity to work with Shannon ABC to highlight the benefits of local organic milk.
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