UK government to promote organic farming

28 July 1997

UK government to promote organic farming

Elliot Morley, the agriculture minister responsible for the
countryside, is to announce tomorrow that the government is looking at
promoting organic farming. He will be seeking views from the

He has accepted that farmers need five-year conversion grants to make
the transition to organic farming. But he is understood not to have
accepted the need for maintenance grants after conversion. Organic
farmers have been pushing the case for maintenance
grants, which many other European states provide.

Only 3% of agricultural land in the UK is farmed organically, the
lowest proportion of any state in the European Union. The conversion
grants total £250 per hectare over five years. Last week, CWS
Agriculture, one of the largest farming companies in the UK, completed a
seven-year organic experiment that suggested organic farming could be
nearly as profitable as conventional farming. The market for organic
farming is growing by 20% to 30% a year.

  • Financial Times 28/07/97 page 6

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