"Significant increase" in LEAF Marque-accredited growing area

LEAF's (Linking Environment And Farming) latest global impact report, released at this week's Cereals 2014, shows that the amount of land worldwide growing LEAF Marque crops has increased by 31 per cent over the past year to 247,000 hectares, including 187,000ha in the UK.

Caroline Drummond - image:HW
Caroline Drummond - image:HW

The proportion of the UK's fruit, vegetable and potato crop area under LEAF Marque rose from 18 per cent in 2012 to 22 per cent in 2013, it said.

Meanwhile the number of LEAF Marque-certified producers has also increased by nearly 7 per cent from 896 to 955, a third of whom are in the horticulture sector.

LEAF's newly introduced sustainability indicators also show that there has been an increase of 46 per cent in the cropping area in which beneficial wildlife is protected and supported, and a 36 per cent increase in hectares under a Crop Protection Policy.

Leaf chief executive Caroline Drummond said: "Our farmer members are making a significant contribution to the protection and enhancement of our precious natural resources, our landscape and its wonderful wildlife.

"However, there is still a long way to go. We want to work with our members to help them develop and improve what they are doing, and to demonstrate the benefits of integrated farm management to other farmers as well as to the wider public.

"Key to this is being able to effectively measure and evaluate sustainable farming and this report is a big step in helping to achieve this."

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