Soil Association Certification has welcomed figures published by Defra showing an uplift in UK farmers seeking organic conversion.

Organic land conversion continued to grow in 2020, with Defra statistics revealing an 11.6% increase in certified organic land in conversion across the UK, signalling ‘growing confidence and interest’ in the sector.

Organic arable farming saw a 7% increase during the same 12 months, mirroring the performance in parts of Europe where organic land continues to grow in line with the EU’s goal for 25% of all agriculture to be organic by 2030.

Sophie Kirk, senior business development manager, Soil Association Certification, says the figures ‘demonstrate positive growth and confidence in the organic sector’. “The volume of land currently under conversion to organic with Soil Association Certification has grown even more rapidly – showing a 24% increase in the year to March 2021.

Kirk says the incentive for farmers to convert is a direct response to “The incentive for farmers to convert to organic is a direct response to ‘the significant and sustained growth in demand for organic produce through the pandemic’, as well as the availability of Government support in some parts of the UK, technological advancement and ‘the growing interest amongst consumers and farmers for farming to provide more benefits for the environment and the climate’.

“The opportunity is now for UK Government to incentivize the delivery of public goods such as clean water and air, improved biodiversity and reduced flooding through enhanced support for organic farming systems and practices.”