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The development and geographic distribution of organic farming in Ireland

Doris Lapple, John Cullinan


This paper explores the development and spatial distribution of organic farming in Ireland. The focus is on the impact of policy, agricultural systems, soil quality, market access, information provision and the influence of neighbouring organic farmers on this development. Geocoded data on organic farms are mapped and spatial concentration is estimated using a location quotient. The results suggest that while organic farming is spread over most of the country, there is evidence of three main spatial clusters. Furthermore, the spatial distribution of organic farming appears to be based on the interaction of a number of determining factors. While certain agricultural systems and soil qualities provide favourable conversion conditions, regional supports, information provision and the impact of pioneering organic farmers may influence spatial clustering of organic farming. In addition, while the availability of organic market outlets is important for organic farming, no clear spatial effect is evident. The paper concludes with a discussion of some policy recommendations aimed at increasing the size of the organic sector.

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