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Vision for organic farming to be debated at top industry event

Date Published: 18/06/2015

Organic agriculture must be given support to continue to develop and innovate if it is to be a model for sustainable food and farming across Europe, delegates at the UK’s largest on-farm organic conference are set to hear.

Christopher Stopes, president of organic group IFOAM EU, will tell the National Organic Combinable Crops conference that the organic sector can help create more resilient and productive farming systems, greater biodiversity, better food quality and fairer supply chains.

But it needs legislators both in Europe and nationally to enable the sector to develop and help it find ways to collaborate with the wider industry to help produce environmentally sensitive, fresh and fairly-priced food.

Mr Stopes is expected to share IFOAM EU’s ambitions for organic agriculture at the NOCC event at Shimpling Park Farm near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, on 7 July.

The group’s vision document, which it published this month ahead of further talks by the European Commission to further reform the organic regulation, set out its aims to see more than half of Europe’s agricultural land managed according to organic principles by 2030.

Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Stopes said the organic sector had shown outstanding success, with the market having grown 38 per cent in the nine years to 2013, taking the value to €24.3bn.

Research has shown that shoppers were turning to organics because of the contribution organic food made to the environment and animal welfare, and because they were interested in where their food was produced.

To continue that growth, the sector needed more innovation to help create a benchmark for sustainability across the world and be able to adapt to meet the needs of any region.

“Organic has been, is and must continue to be a leader in food and farming systems”, he said.

“There has been a lot of development and growth in organic in the last 15 years and this has led to new opportunities and challenges.

“The organic movement needs to take stock of what organic has become and what the future holds for us all.”

Growth and innovation in the sector are just some of the critical issues that will come under the spotlight at this year’s NOCC event.

Other speakers including Simon Crichton of Triodos Bank and Chris Cowan, consumer insight director at Kantar WorldPanel, will focus on financial and market developments, as well as supply chain efficiency, agronomy and profitability.

Attendees will also be given a guided farm walk where they will be able to examine the results of extensive crop trials, including cereals, legumes and novel crops including the latest darling of the food world, quinoa.

Now in its eighth year, NOCC has become a popular fixture in the organic farming calendar, attracting more than 200 producers, buyers, millers, seed companies and researchers from across the sector.

Tickets for the event, which is open to all farmers whether they farm organically or non-organically, are available by downloading a booking form at and returning to OF&G with payment.

Tickets cost £30 each, with a discount for family members who also attend.

If you are interested in booking a trade stand, please contact Steven Jacobs on 01939 291800 or email