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OF&G Defra Consultation Response

Date Published: 16/05/2018

In February this year Defra published a consultation document on the future of UK domestic agricultural policy (England and Wales) and requested responses by 8th May. OF&G have been involved in the English Organic Forum and the Organic Trade Board response and have asked licensees to respond directly. Steven Jacobs also attended a number of consultation events around the country coordinated by Defra to ensure our voice and thoughts are heard.

We sent out a short questionnaire last month ahead of our own written submission to gain insight into our licensee’s views on various topics the results of which we included in our responses – Click here to download a copy of the Response to Defra Consultation.

The consultation asked a number of questions and so the second half of the document is our response to these specific questions with the first three pages giving an overview. In the initial consultation paper ‘organic’ was only mentioned once in the body of the text and then as an illustration so our immediate challenge is to ensure organic is a recognised and supported as part of future UK agricultural support (in the broadest terms).

While the market is in growth both here and on the continent and elsewhere, OF&G have chosen to focus on the public goods organic can simultaneously deliver and the value of this to government and the business case for organic in terms of reduced variable costs and working capital that allows for greater financial resilience and an easier access for new entrants.

We have been told that Defra will read every submission line by line and up until last week they were keeping up. When and in what way they will publicly respond we do not know but the first reading of the Agriculture Bill will be in July although this will be an enabling bill (in so much as it will give the Secretary of State powers to do things) rather than a detailed policy document. In the words of Winston Churchill  “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps, the end of the beginning”

The discussion will continue!!