05 February 1999
‘Reward lower inputs with premium’

RETAILERS and consumers must be persuaded to pay more for food from farms which favour environmental protection, in terms of fertiliser and chemical use.

ADAS consultant Derek Wade told farmers attending an open day in the Welsh borders that buyers who accepted higher prices for verified organic foods now needed to recognise the added value of the products of more responsible farming systems.

“We need schemes that identify them so producers can be rewarded for depending less on agri-chemicals and pharmaceuticals,” he said.

Even without premiums, cutting inputs by about 30% was helping to keep some farm accounts in the black, while those of conventionally farmed units plummeted.