New support for organic farms a "boost for home and export production"

Existing organic farmers and new farmers who want to convert to organic can apply for support under the Countryside Stewardship scheme for the next two years, Farming Minister George Eustice MP confirmed today (31 January).

Image: Flickr/Nick Saltmarsh
Image: Flickr/Nick Saltmarsh

At a meeting today with members of the English Organic Forum, Eustice confirmed that the application process for farmers will open later in 2017 and again in 2018, with agreements lasting for five years.

Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett, who took part in the meeting, said: "This will come as welcome news to consumers and farmers alike.

"The demand for organic food is growing strongly in the UK, and is currently outstripping home-grown supply. Export markets for British organic produce present a further opportunity for British farmers to prosper, if the right Government policies are in place."

He suggested that the US might be among such markets. Already the largest organic market in the world with 43 per cent of global sales, this grew by 11 per cent in 2015 and has more than doubled in ten years.

And he added: "Those food businesses engaged in the export market need organic farming in the UK to be able to operate on a level playing field with other significant agricultural exporters like Denmark and The Netherlands, and to expand to meet rapidly growing domestic and export markets."


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