£6.8m boost for organic Welsh farms

The Welsh Assembly is to boost its support for organic farming by £6.8m.

Rural affairs minister Elin Jones claimed the extra cash would allow all 2008 applications approval for aid under the Organic Farming Scheme, plus 100 applications in 2009.

She said almost 1000 farms had applied to join the scheme, including 400 since April this year. Therefore nearly 8% of Wales was either organic or in conversion.

“I believe it is very important that all 1000 farmers who have switched to organic management should be financially supported, they have genuinely incurred costs and deserve support,” Ms Jones said.

Transferring the extra funds to organic farming had been made possible by adjusting the spending profile across the Axis 2 scheme profile.

Changes included a temporary halt to any new Tir Cynnal entry level agri-environment scheme.

Applicants for the main Tir Gofal scheme that do not score 100 points would be rejected, saving the Assembly Government £2.8m over two years.

Ms Jones added that exact details on how the decisions will be implemented would be drawn up in consultation with stakeholders, including farming unions, over the next few weeks.

“Until then the Organic Farming Scheme will be closed to any further applications.”