UK Government support for organic “staggeringly low”

Government support for organic farming is now “the lowest in Europe” says the Soil Association’s policy director Peter Melchett.

Melchett made the comment in an interview with Farmers Guardian.

He described reports of a further drop in organic retail sales as a “short-term setback” and predicted that “organic growth will resume as the market picks up and CAP money for organic farmers kicks in”

Melchett tells Farmers Guardian that the “staggeringly low” support for organic farmers in Britain contrasts sharply with the rest of Europe. Moreover, other leading EU countires — where institutional support is higher —  had seen their organic markets continue to grow through the recession.

Melchett said that external factors, such as climate change and peak oil, would start to play a stronger role in driving the organic market. When oil prices reach $200/barrel, he said, prices for conventional food would overtake organic. He added: “The real question is, when conventional is more expensive than organic, will organic suffer in a recession in the way it has?”