UK farming could be completely organic within fifty years under Green Party plans to protect the environment and make food production more sustainable.
Unveiling its manifesto on Thursday (15 April), the party said it would set targets to convert a minimum 10% of the country’s food production to organic every five years if it won the general election.
In an extensive list of policies it also promised to invest up to £20bn on a programme to boost renewable energy production.
Pledging to make healthy and affordable food available to the public, the party’s manifesto says it would also replace the Common Agricultural Policy to provide support for organic farming, as well as smaller farms and projects to boost biodiversity.
The party would also work to localise the food chain, offering assistance to small farms, farmers markets, box schemes and locally-owned co-ops.
A complete ban on genetically-modified food in Europe would be a priority for the party, while the use of pesticides would be “dramatically reduced”.
Factory farming would be phased out while live animal exports would come to an end, it said.
Tackling carbon, the manifesto says the party would enforce an annual 10% cut in emissions.
It would introduce carbon quotas, where it would set credits that can be traded in a bid to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the public and businesses.
It would also reduce livestock sector’s carbon output by encouraging traditional rotational grazing – a move which has the potential to store carbon in the soil.
According to the manifesto, the “massive” investment in renewables will see half of the country’s energy produced from renewable sources by 2020.
The party would also encourage the production of biogas from organic sources such as farm waste, while stronger planning policies to support wind farms could be introduced.
• What are the big issues for you as a rural voter? Tell us on our forums.
• Which words feature most in the Green Party’s green manifesto? Farmers Weekly put the party’s food, farming, countryside and environment policies through a programme called Wordle, which picked out the top 20 words used in the manifesto: