OF&G (Organic Farmers & Growers) is championing the launch of the English Organic Forum’s (EOF) new report, ‘Why organic – contributing productively to future farming and food policy’.
Produced as an organic industry-wide blueprint, it sets out a rationale for how and why organic land management should be integrated into English agricultural policy.
OF&G’s chief executive and EOF member Roger Kerr said a shifting consumer mindset towards our environmental responsibilities cannot be disregarded by Defra.
The report identifies key environmental public goods that could be delivered from one million hectares of organic land (approximately 10% of England’s agricultural land), meaning fewer greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon sequestration worth over £188 million, annually, in carbon permit trading terms.
Also, a 50,000 tonne reduction in nitrogen surpluses and related losses to water courses, potentially saving up to £100 million in water treatment costs. As well as 1,700 tonne reduction in pesticide active ingredient applications, with an associated 25% increase in biodiversity.
Organic food and drink volumes in Great Britain rose by 12.9% last year but the organic land area has remained largely static over the past few years in England.
“OF&G has recorded an 85% increase in enquiries about organic certification, but ongoing transitional uncertainty around Government support for the sector means many are undecided about whether to proceed."
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