11 January 2022
'Missing detail on organic growing schemes'
THE OF&G (Organic Farmers & Growers) group is calling for more detail on Defra’s new Environmental Land Management schemes and for policymakers to voice the important market opportunity for organic growing.
OF&G Chief Executive Roger Kerr said: “We’re still missing detail on how new schemes will integrate with existing land management initiatives. And while the Local Nature Recovery scheme could be a good fit for organic, farmers need much greater detail if they are to plan for the next five to 10 years.
“Making space for nature, creating wildlife habitat, choosing nature-based solutions, are all exactly what the UK’s 3,604 certified organic farmers have always done.”
He adds that in failing to name check organic, Defra is failing to flag a market opportunity to farmers looking to adapt to the changing farming landscape.
Organic delivers a proven system of environmentally sensitive food production that operates within a fully regulated and audited farming scheme.
“It’s a system that delivers public goods while also providing nutritious food and sustaining rural economies. With the organic market growing at a rate of over 8% year-on-year, surely it is a mistake on the part of Government not to now publicly recognise this opportunity.
“It is the job of government to provide support that is both consistent and accessible,” he said.
“What we are calling for is recognition that organic is a clear part of the wider Defra policy agenda. The UK needs a strong organic supply base and there’s an obvious fit with Defra’s environmental direction.”
Roger said while organic farming won’t be every grower's choice, it's still worth exploring the opportunity while input costs are spiraling.
“It’s disappointing that George Eustice has again failed to give proper assurance to Britain’s farming community and missed an opportunity to highlight the need for the integrated approach to land management that organic already offers. Now is not the time to be shying away from backing what is a lucrative and environmentally-beneficial system for many UK farm enterprises,” he said.