12 April 1999
Brown reveals revised AAPS rates

By FWi staff

AFTER more than a year, the government has finally revealed the terms of its scheme to double the payment rates to producers who want to convert to chemical-free farming.

The scheme, first announced by former agriculture minister Jack Cunningham almost a year ago to the day, was formally launched today by his successor Nick Brown.

The new payment rates mean that land eligible for the Arable Aid Payment Scheme (AAPS) will now receive £450/ha rather than £250/ha over the five-year conversion period.

Under the new Organic Farming Scheme, improved land not eligible for AAPS will command payments totalling £350/ha over the five years.

Additional annual payments of £30/ha paid on the first five hectares have been replaced by lump sums per farm of £300 in year one, £200 in year two and £100 in year three.

Speaking at the launch in Worcestershire this morning, Mr Brown said that demand for organic produce was strong and continuing to grow.

“I am pleased that so many farmers are realising the opportunities that organic farming can offer and are seeking to convert,” he said.

“We expect demand for the new scheme to be strong and we expect the budget for it to be fully committed.”

But conventional farmers who use chemicals to produce food should think carefully before converting to an organic system, added Mr Brown.

“Conversion to organic systems will not be right for every business and certainly should not be seen as an easy option,” he said.

The new rates are as follows (£/ha):

Type of land Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Total
Eligible for AAPS or under permanent crops 225 135 50 20 20 450
Improved land not eligible for AAPS 175 105 40 15 15 350
Unimproved land 25 10 50 5 5 50