Agriculture – Organic produce to the fore

Consumers are being urged to buy locally-sourced, in-season and preferably organic fruit and vegetables in a bid to benefit from the enhanced nutrition they offer and to support local growers and producers.

Many producers are seeing their produce go to waste, as their regular customers, such as restaurants, bars and pubs have cancelled their orders during lockdown. However, they can sell their wares to the public through a variety of channels, meaning that both producers and consumers benefit.

With the threat of lowered food standards in the wake of new trade deals once the UK finally leaves the European Union, more and more consumers are looking for organic products when they shop, leading to the eighth consecutive year of sales growth in the UK’s organic market in 2019, which is now worth a record £2.45 billion.

In turn, this has led to an increase in the amount of UK farmland being used for organic production in the last year, with 1.198 million acres of land being farmed organically, a 2.4 per cent increase on 2018’s figures.

This increase was praised by organic body Soil Association, which said it had witnessed a 14 per cent increase in farmers with land in conversion to organic last year, as well as seeing sales “rising significantly” in March and April this year.

As a spokeswoman for the body commented, what producers need now is for the Government to provide confidence that farming policy will also support them to grow more healthy, sustainable food.

She added that the demand for British produce and the transparency of sourcing it during this time of great uncertainty means that there has never been a more pivotal moment for farmers to convert to organic.

Posted in Andrew Heskin, Chris Wright.