Organic body welcomes some government initiatives, but says nature-friendly production must be the priority

The Soil Association believes the government should ”stop seeking silver bullets and back nature-friendly food production”.

The Soil Association says a greater vision is needed for organics

The Soil Association says a greater vision is needed for organics

Speaking following the Prime Minister’s appearance at the NFU Conference this week - in which a range of measures were announced to boost productivity, including a £427m grant offer for farmers - the organic body said longer-term strategic planning was needed.

Gareth Morgan, head of farming policy at the Soil Association, said: “Cash boosts for our farmers who are facing so much uncertainty are welcome, but today’s announcement smacks of a search for silver-bullet solutions instead of mapping out a more realistic future.

“Instead of hoping for the price of fossil fuel-derived fertilisers to come down, government should be investing in research, advice and support for farmers to move away from dependence on damaging and expensive inputs.

“There is a role for new tech and setting land aside for habitats, but this won’t be enough on its own. Nature-friendly food production must be prioritised to deliver transformative change across the farmland that makes up 70 per cent of the UK.

“For true food security, government must bolster the Sustainable Farming Incentives with a bold vision for resilient farming, following the lead set by organic and agroecological farmers who are using truly sustainable and regenerative approaches.

“Other countries across the rest of Europe have targets to boost organic farming, recognising the benefits already being delivered. Without targets to deliver this type of clear vision, farmers will be ill-equipped to deal with the impacts of climate change while imports meet the growing demand for sustainable and organic food.

“However none of this can be achieved without fair supply chains that incentivise climate and nature-friendly production, so we are delighted to see government taking a more active role to ensure farmers get a fair deal. We hope to next see that logic applied to securing trade deals that don’t undercut British farmers.”