Aberystwyth organic unit
WALES is to have its own centre of organic excellence based at the Welsh Institute of Rural Studies, Aberystwyth.
A consortium of five organisations has been awarded a £700,000 three year contract to run the centre, the remit of which includes training, providing technical advice, research and development and creating a network of commercial organic demonstration farms.
Other partners in the National Assembly funded centre are ADAS, the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, the Soil Association and Elm Farm Research Centre. The new set up will work closely with existing registered producers, the 257 farmers whose 1999 organic farming scheme conversion applications were approved last October and this years successful applicants.
The centres activities will be integrated with the work of the Assemblys Organic Strategy Group, which has set a target of 10% organic production by 2005.
Nic Lampkin, centre director designate, said: "With more than 70% of organic produce now being imported, this new centre will have a major role to play in increasing the proportion of home-grown produce reaching consumers."