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UK Organic ask Michael Gove to have confidence in organic food and farming to deliver economic and public goods for all

Date Published: 15/03/2018

OF&G in partnership with organisations across the organic sector are urging government to recognise the significant opportunity to expand the UK’s organic food and farming sectors post-Brexit.

In a letter to Defra minister Michael Gove, OF&G — along with other members of the English Organic Forum (EOF) — said organic production offered huge potential to help the government deliver its ambitions of a green Brexit.

But without increased efforts to encourage the growth of organic food and farming, it could fail to grasp the economic and environmental opportunities the sector offers.

Signed by OF&G and EOF members including Organic Arable, OMSC, the Organic Research Centre, the Soil Association, and the Organic Trade Board, the letter (sent 15 March) said it wanted to see organic production represent at least 10% of UK food and farming.

Countries across Europe had set ambitious targets for organic growth, it said, but currently the UK was lacking broader support to increase the scale of organic production.

“From a farming systems point of view, organic systems provide a range of environmental and social public goods and the potential to rebuild natural capital,” the letter added.

“Although we recognise that it is not for every farmer, nor for every consumer, we are looking for a supportive approach from government in delivering a market-focused farming system that delivers multiple public goods simultaneously.”

Roger Kerr, OF&G chief executive, said that creating a domestic agricultural policy that delivers public goods and economic benefits required a stronger focus on the benefits of organic production.

“OF&G and the other members of the English Organic Forum are surprised that organic wasn’t more widely identified in the consultation documents,” he said.

“We would like to have seen organic farming, with all the benefits it offers, part of the consultation proposals on food and farming policy.

“Organic production is backed up by a legal regulation with annual inspections, certification and verification,” he added.

“With this robust approach, Defra can have confidence in organic food and farming delivering economic and public goods for all.”

Organic farming for a Green Brexit