UK: Organic food production thriving
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The organic licensing body OF&G (Organic Farmers and Growers) says the latest government figures show that the
organic food production sector is thriving as it responds to strong market growth.
According to the organic farming statistics of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), in 2016 the area of organic land in the UK as a whole was reduced by 3.6%, but the area of farmland in organic conversion rose by more than 22%. The equivalent figure for conversion to organic in England was 47.2%. All this is evidence that British farmers are recognising there is great potential for making a profit from farming organically. And with demand for organic products in the UK and globally predicted to grow again this year, farmers, growers and processors are attracted to organic production.
Defra's statistics were published on 18 May 2017:
Organic land: permanent pasture continues to account for the biggest share of the country’s organic land.
Organic cattle: an increase on the previous year.
Organic pigs: the number rose by 5%.
Organic poultry: number shows the largest increase, rising by 10% to just over 2.8m birds.
Organic processors: up by 14% to 2,804.
Upbeat message from OF&G
Growth on this scale is hugely encouraging for everyone in the organic sector working hard to respond to increasing demand. With the greater demand for quality food, organic is pointing the way forward. We need more domestic production to meet the rising demand for quality food, and organic has a critical part to play in supplying that market.
OF&G's conclusion: British agriculture needs support now more than ever, especially as we enter negotiations over the country’s trading future.
The Defra organic farming figures are available here.
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