07 July 1998
Prince Philip pleads for `sustainable farming at Royal opening

PRINCE PHILIP pleaded for “sustainable agriculture” in his opening speech at the Royal Show yesterday (Monday) before presenting an award to a leading manufacturer of farm spraying equipment.

The Prince, a trustee of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, warned against the dangers of increasing food production at the expense of the environment. He later presented the Sir Roland Burke Perpetual Challenge Machinery Trophy to Case Sprayers, which makes pesticide and herbicide spraying equipment.

The Duke said future generations would suffer greater privation unless production from the land was sustainable “in every respect”. But he stopped short of echoing criticisms by the Prince of Waless who recently condemned genetically modified (GM) crops as playing god with nature.

Demand for organic food is growing. Patrick Holden, director of the pro-organic Soil Association, yesterday called on the Government to make Britain the first “free zone” for GM organisms in Europe.

Supermarkets have called more produce from organic farmers. They expressed their frustration at the lack of ongoing support for organic farming which, they claim, is restricting the supply of organic food available from British farms.