18 October 1999
‘Organic aid must be doubled’

ORGANIC promotion group The Soil Association is demanding a doubling of state aid to help farmers convert to organic methods.

It is to tell the ministry of agriculture tomorrow that £50 million is needed over the next three years to cope with demand from farmers seeking conversion payments.

These help them transfer from conventional organic methods to organic.

The £50m sought would double the present annual allocation, where £16m was allocated for two years.

The demand comes as a boom takes place in organic food sales, which are approaching £1bn.

Only about 1000 British farmers are certified as organic farmers and most organic food is imported.

Farmgate prices of organic foods can be roughly three times higher than those for intensively farmed crops.