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Meacher slams MAFF over organic funding

11 August 1999
Meacher slams MAFF over organic funding

ENVIRONMENT minister Michael Meacher has spoken out against the Governments decision last week to close the Organic Farming Scheme for this year…more…

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Meacher slams MAFF over organic funding

11 August 1999
Meacher slams MAFF over organic funding

By FWi staff

ENVIRONMENT minister Michael Meacher has spoken out against the Governments decision last week to close the Organic Farming Scheme for this year.

In an interview with the London Evening Standard, he said he was in favour of giving increased help to organic farmers.

“But Im not the department doling out the money; thats the Ministry of Agriculture,” he told the newspaper.

“There is clearly a demand for organic produce, and a strong economic case to produce more of what the public wants.”

Mr Meacher told the Standard he believed people wanted organic food for a good reason: “They are suspicious of the pesticides, fertilisers, additives and preservatives – all of this artificiality.”

A spokeswoman from the Soil Association agreed with Mr Meacher and said the closure of the Organic Farming Scheme earlier this month was very short-sighted of the Government.

The growth of organic sales in the UK has led to 70% of organic food sold being sourced from the Continent.

In Europe, farmers have to meet set targets, and funding will continue through organic stewardships leaving the UK uncompetitive, said the spokeswoman. “We really are missing opportunities,” she added.

The Soil Association claims the budget of about £6 million would have to be trebled to meet the response of farmers looking to convert.

At present, it expects next years budget to be used up within the first week of the new year.

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