7 January 2001
Minister: Organics could do better
by John Burns in Cirencester
ENVIRONMENT minister Michael Meacher has spoken of his belief that some organic farmers should adopt more environmentally-friendly practices.
His comments were made as he addressed the Soil Associations national conference on organic farming at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.
Mr Meacher said: “Not all farmers will want to convert to organic, and some organic farmers could incorporate more environmentally-friendly practices.”
The growth of farm management systems which combine natural processes, such as biological pest control, with modern technology, was welcome, he said.
But some environmental regulation was essential to make sure conscientious farmers were not disadvantaged by unscrupulous farmers using excessive nutrients.
“I am committed to [maintaining consumer] choice and determined to ensure that consumer desire for wholesome food and environmental protection are both met.”
Mr Meacher said he felt that some producers were continuing to use too many pesticides and being careless with farm wastes.