OF&G (Organic Farmers & Growers) is championing the launch of the English Organic Forum’s (EOF) new report, ‘Why organic – contributing productively to future farming and food policy’.
Produced as an organic industry-wide blueprint, the report sets out a comprehensive rationale for how and why organic land management should be integrated into English agricultural policy.
It’s publication is welcomed by OF&G’s chief executive and EOF member, Roger Kerr, who believes that organic can be a powerful pivot for system change.
“Collectively, the EOF is intent on amplifying the voice of the organic sector, as key decision makers fail to engage in a meaningful dialogue. It’s a perplexing situation, given the widespread acceptance of the need for an agroecological transition in our farming systems. That’s matched by a growing demand for organic in the UK and a shifting consumer mindset towards our environmental responsibilities,” explained Mr Kerr. (Find out more about the growing demand for organic in the UK: https://www.aafarmer.co.uk/news/uk-organic-market-hits-highest-growth-level-in-15-years.html )
The report identifies:
- key environmental public goods that could be delivered from one million hectares of organic land (approximately 10% of England’s agricultural land), including more than 9.4 million tonnes CO2 equivalent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon sequestration worth over £188 million, annually, in carbon permit trading terms.
- a 50,000 tonne reduction in nitrogen surpluses and related losses to water courses, potentially saving up to £100 million in water treatment costs.
- A 1,700 tonne reduction in pesticide active ingredient applications, with an associated 25% increase in biodiversity.
Mr Kerr added: “In principle and practice, an organic approach simultaneously delivers on multiple outcomes and provides numerous benefits in line with the ambition of current policy initiatives. This needs to be recognised and implemented,”.
OF&G are striving to achieve organic recognition for the report from Defra in the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, and have already set out a clearly defined and compelling case, as well as stating proposed recommendations for including organic within the policy framework.
The EOF report is being circulated to MPs and can be downloaded from OF&G’s website.