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United voice key to organic strength post-Brexit, OF&G tells international conference

Date Published: 14/03/2017

OF&G, Organic Farmers & Growers | Organic Certification

Organic and environmental groups across the UK must join forces to ensure the sector gets the government support it needs to continue to thrive once the country has left the European Union.

Steven Jacobs, OF&G business development manager, told delegates at Biofach – the world’s leading trade fair for organic food in Nuremberg, Germany – that the sector needed to demonstrate the benefits a strong organic sector offered the country.

Steven Jacobs speaking at BioFach 2017

And in a rallying call to action, he said parties interested in ecological approaches to food production must work together with organisations like OF&G to ensure the sector had a single clear, strong voice.

Addressing delegates during an IFOAM EU session on the impact of Brexit on the UK and European organic sector, Mr Jacobs said policy makers needed to clearly understand what organic offered to the economy, the environment and to public health.

Organic production ‘ticks the boxes’ of an ecological approach to food production which was more resistant to climate and economic shocks, and getting politicians to recognise the benefits it offered was vital as they begin to devise new agricultural policies ahead of life outside the EU, he added.

Mr Jacobs’ comments were echoed by fellow panel member Urs Brändli of organic farmer organisation Bio Suisse, who said the UK could benefit from the ‘one voice’ approach adopted by organic and environmental groups in Switzerland.

He told the audience that by focusing on the areas of commonality between organisations interested in ecological food production – including both organic and non-organic bodies – they had achieved greater government support than if they had worked alone.

As well as taking part in the IFOAM’s panel discussion, Mr Jacobs used the conference as an opportunity to catch up with OF&G licensees who were present, including Rude Health and Essential trading, which had a stand with its German partners.

He also met IFOAM EU’s deputy director and policy manager Eric Gall to discuss OF&G’s new membership of the ‘Keeping GMOs out of Food’ group and its plans for the coming months. OF&G will bring you updates the group’s work soon.