Organic shortage threatens market growth Datamonitor

By Farmers Weekly staff

SHORTAGES of organic produce could cap further growth in the market, warns market analyst Datamonitor.

Restricted supplies are producing premiums of between 30% and 100% over conventional food.

These are too high and could reduce demand for produce, slowing down the growth in sales, it warns in its latest report, European Natural & Organic Food and Drinks.

The situation is exacerbated with retailer promotions of organic food generating more interest.

The UK already imports 70% of its supplies and that could increase unless more domestic produce is grown. This follows the boom in sales which rose by £194 million between 1995 and 1998 to reach £334m, says Datamonitor.

The Soil Associations director Patrick Holden suggests the government should do more to encourage more producers to switch to organic production.

The current £6m annual budget for the Organic Farming Scheme is “totally inadequate”, says Mr Holden.

He believes payments of £450/ha (£182/acre) for IACS-registered land in conversion should be extended after completion to guarantee incomes and encourage producers to make the switch.

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