The Organic Advice, Support and Information Service (Oasis) has been created through a collaboration between independent farm consultancy Abacus Agriculture and OF&G (Organic Farmers and Growers), which certify over half the organic land in the UK.
The goal of the service is to provide free advice and technical guidance to organic farmers, as well as those considering organic conversion, encouraging them to consider organics as a viable option, helping them to determine whether conversion is right for their business.
“It’s about making the conversion process a success and reducing commercial risk,” said Ian Knight, director at Abacus Agriculture. “Many producers and growers we speak to question whether organic is right for their business and want to know more about what it takes to successfully convert. We’ve created Oasis to help answer some of these fundamental questions, allowing farmers to assess whether the changes required to become certified organic could suit their farm.”
Oasis’s new website offers up-to-date information on organic conversion, while a helpline allows farmers to talk to a team of advisors. “Qualified consultants are on hand to provide additional advice and talk through any queries,” said Knight. “If organic production seems feasible, there’s then the option to purchase an advisory package, which includes a farm visit to consider feasibility and to develop an organic conversion plan.”
Steven Jacobs, business development manager at OF&G, highlighted the huge opportunity for organics in the UK and globally.
“The UK organic market has grown at around 5 per cent year on year for the past eight years and as a regenerative food production system it provides a viable business option for many,” he said. “But conversion is a significant commitment. It can take around two or three years and the decision to switch must be backed up by sound economic sense. We encourage anyone thinking about converting part or all of their farm to organic to visit the Oasis website or to call the helpline for advice.”