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Majority of farms will be organic expert

08 January 1999
Majority of farms will be organic — expert

THE majority of farmers will eventually be farming organically if the market continues to grow at its present rate, a leading expert has predicted …more…
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Majority of farms will be organic expert

08 January 1999
Majority of farms will be organic — expert

By Isabel Davies

THE majority of farmers will eventually be farming organically if the market continues to grow at its present rate, a leading expert has predicted.

The demand for organic food is such that organic farming could account for as much as 15% of European agriculture by 2005, said Nic Lampkin of Aberystwyth University.

And as many as 2.5 million European farmers could be organic by 2010 if market growth continues at 25% each year, he told delegates at the Organic Food and Farming Conference in Cirencester.

Market growth is such that even policy makers admit that organic farmers could form the majority of producers as soon as 2020, said Dr Lampkin.

The potential for growth in the sector was backed by other conference speakers who highlighted the need to move to protect biodiversity by moving to more sustainable agriculture systems.

Sir Crispin Tickell, convenor of the Governments panel on sustainable development warned that conventional agriculture “was in deep trouble”.

The organic sector in the UK has grown from 620 farms with 20,000 ha in 1990 to more than 1000 farms and 55,000ha in 1997.

Over the same period, the market for organic produce has grown from a retail sales value of £60 million to more than £200 million.

Growth has been particularly rapid over the last 12 months, but the sector still forms less than half of one percent of the UK agricultural industry.

That contrasts starkly with the rest of Europe which has 80,000 organic farms covering 2 million hectares.

In Austria and Sweden, the organic sector already accounts for around 10% of farms and farmland.

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