13 November 2000
Long-term cash for organic farmers?
By FWi staff
THE government is considering introducing stewardship payments to organic farmers after they convert from conventional production methods.
Such a scheme could be the long-term future of aid to the organic sector, according to junior agriculture minister Elliot Morley.
Britain is the only European Union country which does not support its organic farmers with stewardship payments after they convert.
The Soil Association believes such a scheme would increase the amount of organic farming in Britain and enable domestic production to replace imports.
Mr Morley told association officials last week that they should stress the environmental benefits of organic farming.
Stewardship payments could help the government realise its commitment to reverse the current dramatic decline in farmland wildlife.
Compared to many other farming systems, organic production has the capacity to bring substantial increases in levels of wildlife.