LEAF seeks growers to join Marque accreditation scheme

Sustainable farming charity LEAF currently has 810 growers accredited to its LEAF Marque, producing 20 per cent of UK fresh produce. But according to chief executive Caroline Drummond: "We are looking for stronger uptake of the marque."

LEAF chairman Stephen Fell added: "Our members are having to produce more with less and enhance the environment at the same time. We have to help farmers improve their bottom lines and translate research into practical applications."

He said proposed reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) would be of little use to LEAF growers. "Why, if CAP is about greening farming, is organic the only area singled out to benefit from reforms?," he asked.

"LEAF points out the environmental value of integrated management and should be included in derogations."

Produce World director of agriculture Andrew Burgess added that organic and LEAF can help each other.

"We have learned many lessons in organic growing that we have applied to conventional farming, that let us use less herbicides. The industry is still too reliant on the 'bag and bottle' approach," he said.

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