Report warns of "catastrophically" low levels of research

The UK's leading organic growers have used a major report that warns of "catastrophically" low levels of research into soil and water as a battle cry for more organic growing.

Garden Organic charity welcomed last week's findings by the Royal Agricultural Society of England on the threats to the health of UK soil and food security (Grower, 31 October).

Chief executive Myles Bremner said: "Our future is in the soil and we must invest in sustainable techniques in order to protect food production in years to come.  

"This means adopting organic methods in both agricultural and domestic settings in order to nourish and protect soil health and investing further research into these techniques.

"Thorough and ongoing research could ensure organic horticultural and agricultural systems are viable, productive, practical and profitable alternatives to industrial agriculture methods."

The report by the Royal Agricultural Society of England said science had little link to production growing and there seemed to be no coordinated vision for applied research.

The report called for £5m of spending to stop the brain drain, and because Britain was "in real danger of abusing its most precious asset, the soil".

Soil-science departments had closed, said lead author Professor Richard Godwin. Key scientists have gone abroad or retired and postgraduate work had almost disappeared.


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