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					Research Note

RN 01/62 15 June 2001


Organic farming and food is receiving increasing attention from consumer, farming and environmental organisations, the public, as well as governments. Demand for organic products has increased over recent years, beyond the present domestic production capacity. The aim of this Research Note is to provide an overview on the subject of organic agriculture and food. It covers standards and certification, evidence for the benefits of organic agriculture, support schemes, market statistics, targets, and incorporates examples from other EU countries.

Organic agriculture is not simply about 'farming without chemicals', but it is difficult to find one definition agreed by all. The United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards (UKROFS) states that "organic production systems are designed to produce optimum quantities of food of high nutritional quality by using management practices which aim to avoid the use of agrochemical inputs and which minimise damage to the environment and wildlife”. UKROFS complements this definition with the following organic farming principles: • working with natural systems rather than seeking to dominate them;

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• • • • •

encouraging biological cycles involving micro-organisms, soil flora and fauna, plants and animals; maintaining valuable existing landscape features and adequate habitats for wildlife with particular regard to endangered species; paying careful attention to animal welfare considerations; avoiding pollution; taking consideration of the wider social and ecological impact of the farming system.

Ultimately, organic farming worldwide is defined by the standards set by the organic farming associations themselves. In the EU, Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 sets the minimum standards required (see below).

Organic farming has developed in response to intensification in other sectors of agriculture. The first ‘organic farms’ developed in the 1930s when the first signs of agricultural intensification appeared and chemical inputs became more prevalent. This intensification accelerated during and after World War Two in response to an acute need to increase food production across Europe. Higher production was encouraged by government policy and subsequently by the production-boosting subsidies of the CAP1, and was facilitated by the development of new techniques of crop protection and production, such as synthetic fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides. From the late 1960s, however, and especially in the 1970s and 1980s, organic farming gained momentum as consumers started showing concern about the detrimental environmental impacts of intensive agriculture. During that period, the number of organic farmers progressively rose, but remained small until the launch, in 1992, of schemes specifically introduced to support organic farmers. These new schemes were part of the agri-environment measures that accompanied the 1992 MacSharry CAP reforms. Since the late 1990s, demand for organic food has boomed and the amount of land and number of farmers engaged in organic production have seen a major increase (see Figures 1 & 2). Several factors have stimulated this sudden expansion of the sector: • • • fears over food safety in intensive agriculture brought about by the BSE crisis and the resulting increase in public demand for organic food; launch of initiatives in several EU Member States specifically designed to promote organic farming; and greater interest from farmers as prices for conventionally produced commodities fell.
EU Common Agriculture Policy


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EU CONTEXT The Soil Association, the main organic certifier in the UK, published the first organic standards in 1967, but it was not until 1992 that common standards were introduced across the EU2. Since then, the EC Regulation on organic production has been added to on several occasions, in particular in 1999, when the Council extended its scope to cover organic livestock production3. This Regulation formed part of the reform of the CAP that placed greater focus on the promotion of quality products and the integration of environmental conservation into agriculture. The EC Regulation sets out the minimum rules for the production, processing, inspection, labelling and marketing of organic products in the EU. It also covers import of organic products from non-member countries. Under the Regulation, any person or company that produces, packs, imports (from outside the EU) or processes organic food destined for human consumption, must be licensed to do so by an approved EU certification body. Basic rules on the organic production method for crops cover crop protection against pests and disease, weed control, and the minimum conversion period. Minimum rules for organic livestock production cover the conversion of the land associated with livestock production and the conversion of the livestock, as well as feed, disease prevention and veterinary treatment. In March 2000, the European Commission adopted a Community logo for organic products. In May 2001, The Copenhagen Declaration made an important step towards the introduction of a European Action Plan for the development of organic food and farming in the whole of Europe4. UK CONTEXT In the UK, UKROFS is responsible for the implementation of the European Regulation on organic production. UKROFS was established in 1987 to provide baseline organic standards and to approve and monitor the work of organic certification bodies. Since the EC Regulation came into force in 1992, the role of UKROFS has focused increasingly on ensuring that EC organic standards are properly applied in the UK. There are nine organic certification bodies in the UK (all independent of but accredited by UKROFS) including two based in Scotland: the Scottish Organic Producers Association and the Food Certification (Scotland) Ltd (the latter only

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 of 24 June 1991 on organic production of agricultural products and indications referring thereto on agricultural products and foodstuffs; came into force in 1992. 3 Council Regulation (EC) No 1804/1999 of 19 July 1999 supplementing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 on organic production of agricultural products and indications referring thereto on agricultural products and foodstuffs to include livestock production. 4 http://www.organic-europe.net/ news from 14/05/2001

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certifies organic farmed salmon). Each certification body is free to define its own standards provided they at least meet the European organic standards. This has resulted in a profusion of ‘certified organic’ labels which is sometimes seen to cause confusion amongst consumers5. The Soil Association is recognised as the most powerful advocate of organic farming and food. Founded in 1946, it now certifies more than 70% of all UKregistered organic products and has also played a key role in developing organic standards both in Britain and at the EU level. The standards set by the Soil Association are often considered to be the most stringent ones in the UK. In Scotland, the main certifier is SOPA, the Scottish Organic Producers Association. THE EXAMPLE OF DENMARK Denmark was the first country (in 1987) to adopt a law on organic farming and a national support programme. It is also considered to be rather unique in that it uses one single label for organic products and operates a state-run inspection system. The Plant Directorate, which is part of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, is the competent authority under both the Danish 1987 law as well as the more recent EC Regulation; it certifies and inspects all organic producers.

In January 1999, the FAO6 Committee on Agriculture adopted a report7 that identified sustainability as one of the goals of organic agriculture. The report detailed the environmental and potential health benefits of organic production, but also warned against the potential negative impacts8 without providing further details on these. The benefits of organic farming are generally well accepted, but supporting research-based evidence is sometimes understood to be lacking, as exemplified by the following PQ.
S1W-10728 - Mary Scanlon (Highlands and Islands) (Con): to ask the Scottish Executive whether organic food has greater health and nutritional benefits than nonorganic food. Answered by Susan Deacon (27 November 2000): I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that there is not enough scientifically proven information available at present to be able to say that organic foods are significantly different in terms of 9 their nutritional content from those produced by conventional farming .

5 6

See art. ‘Organic labels trick the public into paying more’, The Sunday Herald, 10/06/01 FAO: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations 7 Organic Agriculture, COAG/99/9 Rev.1, http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/X0075E.htm 8 Environmental benefits include soil and water protection, and nature conservation. In terms of health benefits, “the reduction in the use of toxic synthetic pesticides, which the World Health Organization estimates to poison three million people each year, should lead to improved health of farm families.” 9 SP WA 27 November 2000

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A recently published study10 of the environmental impacts of organic farming in Europe concluded that there is enough evidence to say that, overall, organic farming performs better environmentally than conventional farming. Having selected seven key indicators, the authors carried out a review of a wide range of existing studies in 18 European countries. For each indicator, their summarised findings are as follows: • Ecosystem (including biodiversity and landscape): organic farming clearly performs better than conventional farming in respect of biodiversity. “In productive areas, organic farming is currently the least detrimental farming system with respect to wildlife conservation and landscape”7. Soil: the impact of organic agriculture on soil condition has been researched extensively, but conclusive research on soil erosion issues is still lacking. Results show that organic agriculture tends to conserve soil fertility and stability better than conventional farming. Ground and surface water: research shows that the detrimental effects of organic farming on ground and surface water tend to be generally lower than those from conventional farming systems. Climate and air: research on CO2 emissions show varying results. No quantitative data is available on N2O and CH4 emissions. Farm input and output: most research studies reviewed suggest that energy consumption on organic farms is lower than on conventional farms. No comparative research on water use was found. Animal health and welfare: this is the subject of only a few comprehensive scientific studies. Observations indicate that organic dairy cows tend to live longer than conventional ones. Quality of food products: no clear conclusions can be reached on the basis of existing research.



• •



Social and economic benefits have been less consistently researched and are therefore difficult to quantify. The House of Lords 16th Report stated that “benefits to human health are as likely to come from non-routine use of antibiotics (avoiding the development of resistant strains of bacteria) as from the food produced. But such benefits are almost impossible to quantify. In many cases, the philosophy is not yet matched by current knowledge”11. Other analysis shows that as a rule, organic farming favours higher employment as it requires a greater volume of labour input, either in terms of hours of work or of full-time jobs.12


Organic Farming in Europe: Economics and Policy, Vol. 6: The Environmental Impacts of Organic Farming in Europe. University of Hohenheim, 2000. 11 th 16 Report, Organic Farming and the European Union. House of Lords (July 1999) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199899/ldselect/ldeucom/93/9301.htm 12 Organic farming - Guide to Community rules http://europa.eu.int/comm/agriculture/qual/organic/brochure/abio_en.pdf

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ORGANIC AID SCHEME The main source of financial support for organic farmers in Scotland is the Organic Aid Scheme (OAS), administered by the Scottish Executive. It was introduced in 1994 following the MacSharry reforms of the CAP13. Agri-environment schemes (of which OAS is one) now come under the EC Rural Development Regulation (RDR)14. The current policy for agri-environment schemes in Scotland is set out in the Scottish Executive Rural Development Plan15. Payments are designed to compensate farmers for income lost during the conversion period. The minimum conversion period is two years for annual crops and grass, and three years for other perennial crops16. Annual payments are made per hectare of land converted for the first five years following conversion. There is no requirement to convert a whole farm to organic agriculture, and farmers can convert their land in batches if they want17. The scheme was reviewed in 1998, and payments were increased from October 1999 to better reflect the costs of conversion. Table 1 shows payment rates for the different categories of land under the new revised rates: Table 1: organic Aid Scheme Payments from October 1999 (£/ha) Scheme year 1 2 3 4 £150 £150 £50 £50 Arable Area Payments Eligible land (£/ha)
Improved grassland (£/ha) Rough grazing (£/ha) £120 £10 £120 £10 £50 £7 £50 £5

£40 £30 £5

£440 £370 £37

Take up of the scheme increased significantly following the introduction of the increased payments, as figure 1 indicates.


The 1992 CAP reform, named after the then Agriculture Commissioner, Ray MacSharry. They introduced “accompanying measures” including agri-environment schemes. 14 Regulation 1257/99/EC 15 Rural Development Plan for Scotland: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library3/misc/rdps-00.asp 16 As specified in Regulation 2092/91 EEC (as amended). Subject to certain exceptions, the conversion period for livestock farming is therefore also two years, though for livestock to be saleable as organic in the third year they would have had to be raised from birth on an organic unit. Creating a breeding herd or flock of organic animals with a diverse age structure (as would be normal agricultural practice) would therefore take longer than two years. 17 Subject to a limit of 300ha for land which is eligible for arable aid payments, or improved grassland, and 1,000 ha for rough grassland.

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Figure 1: number of participants in the Organic Aid Scheme 1995-200118
500 450 400 350 Number of participants 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

Payments under the scheme are 50% Member State funded and 50% EC funded. Actual spending under the OAS increased more than fivefold from £194,000 in 1998/99 to £1.2 million in 1999/0019. Scotland’s two agri-environment schemes, the OAS and the Rural Stewardship Scheme (RSS) are funded from the same budget. However, the OAS is nondiscretionary, which means that there is no cap on the number of awards from the scheme, and all eligible applications will be granted. The RSS is discretionary, and Ministers can set a ceiling on the number of applications which will be funded, so that some applications may not receive funding, even if they are eligible. MODULATION The so-called “horizontal regulation”20 allows Member States to remove up to 20% of the money they give to farmers through livestock and arable subsidies, and redirect it through e.g. the schemes under the Rural Development Regulation. In Scotland, a modulation rate of 3% will be applied from 2001, rising to 4.5% in 200621. This money will be allocated to either the OAS or the RSS depending on the number of applications received, and the demand for funding.

18 19

Source: Organic Aid Scheme Uptake 1995-2001, SERAD Agri-environment provision and expenditure 1997-98 to 2001-02, SERAD 20 Regulation 1259/99/EC 21 Modulated funds are estimated in Scotland’s Budget to be £7m in 2001-02, £11m in 2002-03 and £13m in 2003-04

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AID FOR ORGANIC FARMERS UNDER RDR OUTSIDE SCOTLAND England, Wales and Northern Ireland also operate schemes similar to the OAS. The schemes are administered separately but the payment rates for the schemes are identical in Wales, England and Northern Ireland, and are shown in table 2. Table 2: support for organic farming in England, Wales and Northern Ireland under the RDR Scheme year 1 2 3 4 5 Total
Land eligible for the AAPS and land in permanent crops (£/ha) Other improved land (£/ha) Unimproved grassland or rough grazing (£/ha) 225 175 25 135 105 10 50 40 5 20 15 5 20 15 5 450 350 50

The Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) in England was also reviewed in 1998. When the revised scheme, with significantly higher payment rates, was opened to applications in April 1999 it quickly became oversubscribed, and was closed to further applications within four months. Following a consultation on the scheme MAFF announced that the scheme would re-open to new applications in January 200122. To date there have not been similar problems in Scotland. All Member States provide support for organic farming. The UK is the only Member State which does not provide ongoing payments to organic farmers beyond the five year conversion period23. All other Member States offer some form of “maintenance” payment to organic farmers, which is paid beyond the conversion period. Appendix A shows the payment rates for different categories of organic land in each Member State, and the levels of ongoing maintenance payments. RESEARCH AND ADVICE The other main source of state support for organic farming is provided through the funding of research and advice. The amount of Scottish Executive spending on research into organic farming was announced in a written answer:
S1W-10116 - Mr Kenneth Gibson (Glasgow) (SNP) : To ask the Scottish Executive what its planned research expenditure into the development of organic farming methods was in each of the last three years and will be over the next three financial years. Answered by John Home Robertson (20 October 2000): The expenditure incurred in each of the last three years and in each of the following three years is:

22 23

MAFF news release: http://www.maff.gov.uk/inf/newsrel/2000/001229a.htm Apart from France where ongoing support for Organic Agriculture is only available in three regions. See Appendix xx and HoC Ag sel ctee report : http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199900/cmselect/cmagric/681/0110104.htm 24 th SP WA 20 October 2001

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1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03

£183,391 £228,720 £224,771 £327,151 £343,992 £304,792

In Scotland, advice and information on converting to organic farming is provided by the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC). As in other parts of the UK, demand for advice on organic conversion has greatly increased over the last two years. In the year to 31 March 1999, SAC responded to over 1,100 enquiries on organic conversion, approximately four times as many as in the previous year25.

ORGANIC FARMS The area of land converted to organic agriculture has risen exponentially over the last few years. This is in response to: high prices for organic produce; depressed prices for conventionally produced agricultural commodities; and the increased payments available to organic farmers under the OAS. Figure 2 shows the area of land converted/in conversion to organic agriculture over the last five years. Figure 2: area of Organic Farmland/Land in Conversion registered under the Organic Aid Scheme in Scotland 1995-2001



'000 ha
100 50 0 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

Source: SERAD


from 1/4/98 – 31/3/99, Great Britain Country Report, Organic Europe: http://www.organic-europe.net/country_reports/great_britain/default.asp

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As of March 2001 232,000 ha of land have been or are being converted to organic agriculture; this represents 3.8% of the total agricultural land26. Appendix B shows the proportion of organic/ in conversion farmland in each Member State. Rough grazing makes up 87% of the land converted or in conversion. This is in part a reflection of the ease of converting this type of land, which would anyway receive little agrochemical inputs under conventional management. PRICES One of the main motivations for farmers to convert to organic farming is the premium price they receive for organic produce, especially when set against the income problems in conventional agriculture. As organic systems typically have lower yields than conventional systems, it is these premiums which drive the economics of the organic farm. Premiums for organic produce leaving the farm have been estimated as follows: Table 3: price Premiums for organic products ex-farm 199927 % premium on conventional produce
Cereals Vegetables Milk Pigs & Poultry Red Meat 75-100 25-100 35-50 100+ 60-70

The Organic Farming Research Unit has published28 the results of a study commissioned by MAFF that sought to assess the financial performance of organic farms differentiated by farm type. The study examined MAFF data for organic farms in England and Wales from 1995-96 and 1997-98. The data from organic farms was compared with data from equivalent conventional farms. The study looked at data from dairy, cereal, horticultural, mixed, lowground cattle & sheep and LFA cattle and sheep farms. Only on the lowground cattle and sheep farms was the Net Farm Income (NFI) per hectare higher than on the conventional farms. Overall, the average Net Farm Income (NFI) of the organic farms in 199798 exceeded that of the sample of conventional farms included in the study. ORGANIC FOOD Organic Food accounted for just over 2.5% of total UK food sales in 200029. The retail value of the organic food sector grew from £105 million in 1993-94 to £546 million in 1999-00, and is expected to top £1 billion in 2001-02. According to a

Based on the figure for total area of agricultural land in Scotland of 6,100,700 as per Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture 2000 edition: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/agri/documents/ersa-30.asp 27 Welsh Organic Food Industry Working Group – Welsh Organic Food Sector, A Strategic Action Plan, March 1999: http://www.wales.gov.uk/subiagriculture/pdf/newdevelop/organ_e.pdf 28 Fowler, s, Lambkin N & Midmore P (2000) – Organic Farm Incomes in England and Wales 1996/97 and 1997/98, Organic Farming Research Unit, University of Wales: http://www.organic.aber.ac.uk/library/Organic%20Farm%20Incomes.pdf 29 nd House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee 2 Report 2001 Organic farming

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recent survey by Datamonitor, a London-based market research company, British consumers will soon be the biggest spenders on organic food in Europe with sales likely to reach £3 billion by 200530. Figure 3 shows the proportion of different sectors of the organic food market. Supermarkets had 69% of the market share in the retail of organic foods in 199899, with sales of £269 million31 (the supermarket share for the total food market had been estimated to 60% in 200032). The remainder of the organic food market is supplied through direct marketing schemes. These include: box schemes, farmers markets, farm shops and internet marketing. Together, the market for organic food sales through these outlets was £58 million in 1998/99. Figure 3: sectoral breakdown of UK organic food market 199933

Beverages 5% Multi Ingredients 15%

Baby Foods 3% Eggs 2% Meat 4%

Fruit and Vegetables 44%

Dairy 14% Cereals 13%

IMPORTS OF ORGANIC FOOD Estimates suggest 70% of organic food sold in the UK is imported34. This deficit is likely to grow as demand for organic food is currently increasing faster than organic production domestic production. By comparison, imports make up a much smaller proportion (23%) of the UK food market as a whole35.

30 31

AgraFood Europe, June 2001, p7 nd House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee 2 Report 2001 Organic farming 32 Institute of Grocery Distribution – European Grocery Retailing 2001 33 nd Derived from figures in House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee 2 Report 2001 Organic farming. 34 1997 figures from para 16, House of Lords Select Committee on European Union, Organic Farming and th the European Union, 13 Report 1998-99. 35 th House of Lords Select Committee on European Union, Organic Farming and the European Union, 13 Report 1998-99.

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Given the dominance of fruit and vegetables in terms of overall sales of organic food36, the large percentage of imports in that sector plays a major part in setting the average for the whole organic market. This indicates the need for some caution in assessing the trade gap in organics since some fruit and vegetables can only be sourced from abroad, for example, oranges, mangoes or bananas. The chart below shows the share of imports in different sectors of organic food in 1999: Figure 4: imports and domestic production of organic food by commodity group, April 1999 (%)
100 90 80 70 70 60 50 40 30 20 30 10 0 18 30 20 10 60 82 95 100 70 80 90 Imports Domestic 40

Source: Organic Farming, House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee

Some countries have sought to encourage the development of the organic sector by setting targets for the conversion of land. Several “Organic Food and Farming Targets” Private Members Bills have been introduced at Westminster. These would have set targets for converting to organic agriculture in England, but none have been passed to date. In Scotland, Robin Harper MSP has introduced a proposal for a similar Members Bill in the Scottish Parliament, and has recently concluded a consultation exercise on his proposals37. The Scottish position on targets was set out in a written answer in 1999:
S1W-834 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) : To ask the Scottish Executive whether it intends to set targets for the production of organic food.

Fruit and Vegetables





Baby Foods

Multi Ingredients


36 37

With sales of £175 million in 1998/99 making up 45% of total organic food sales. Seizing the Organic Opportunity – a Bill for Scotland’s Parliament, Scottish Organic Food and Farming Bill Steering Group, March 2001: http://www.sustainweb.org/scotorg/organic.pdf

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Answered by Ross Finnie: No. While we are keen to encourage the production of 38 organic food, it is for the industry to react to the demands of the market.

The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has indicated that government support for organic farming is linked to a target:
“Through our plans [for spending under the English Rural Development Plan] we propose doubling the amount we spend on agri-environmental schemes. And our plans envisage 39 a trebling of the area under organic farming”

The Rural White Paper for England (published in November 2000) set the target of 430,000 hectares of land converted or converting to organic by 2007. This equates to a target of 4.7% of agricultural land in England to be organic by 200740. The Soil Association, in association with over 100 other organisations, has launched a campaign for the UK Government to adopt a target of 30% of agricultural land and 20% of the food consumed in England and Wales to be organic by 2010. It had the support of a third of the Members of Parliament in April 2000. The House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee also considered the need for setting targets in its report on Organic agriculture. It found that: • • The Prime Minister has said that Government plans envisage a trebling of the area under organic farming in the UK by 2006 (6% of agricultural land). The Organic Food and Farming Targets Bill campaign aims to tie the Government to much more ambitious targets: 30% of agricultural land and 20% of the food consumed will be organic by 2010. It drew on the experience of other European countries which have set targets for the growth of their organic industries, such as Sweden, Austria, Denmark and Finland, although not all of the targets have been met. Supporters argue the need for a longterm Government strategy to "give the confidence to growers, farmers, retailers and investors that the organic sector is set on a course of growth". Not all organic bodies are in favour of setting targets of this kind Witnesses who supported the campaign generally agreed that the purpose of the bill was to raise awareness, rather than to prescribe an exact target. A further purpose of the bill was to persuade the Government to adopt an Action Plan. The Minister for Agriculture accepted the need for an Action Plan in a speech at the Cirencester conference of the Soil Association.

• •


38 39

SP WA 19 August 1999 st Speech by the Prime Minister at the National Farmers Union AGM, 1 February 2000. 40 Para 10.3.12 in http://www.wildlife-countryside.detr.gov.uk/ruralwp/cm4909/13.htm


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• • •

The Soil Association argues that the Government must to agree to a longterm strategy for the development of the organic sector Mr Morley rejected this suggestion for a fixed strategy in favour of flexibility. The committee is not in favour of a dirigiste approach to agriculture in the UK. It suggests that Agriculture must respond to the market-place and farmers need to adopt clear plans that will allow it to do so. This is particularly true of the organic sector. Instead it suggests that the role of government was to analyse the organic supply chain for imbalances and devise policy to remedy them.41


WALES The Agri-Food Strategy commissioned by the Welsh Office in 1998 recognised that Welsh agriculture is particularly well-placed to take advantage of the growing opportunities of the organic food market, and recommended that an Organic Action Plan be drawn up to encourage the development of organic farming in Wales. The Action Plan was produced in March 199942 by DTZ Pieda Consulting and MLC Industry Strategy Consulting acting under the guidance of a Welsh Office working group. The plan has the following mission statement:
“To establish the key role of organic agriculture in agricultural and environmental policies in Wales, to expand the Welsh organic sector by increasing production of existing and new businesses to 10% of the Welsh agricultural products sector by 2005 and to exploit fully the growing market opportunities within Wales, the UK and elsewhere.”43

The plan sets three key objectives: • The establishment of a Strategic Co-ordinating Body for Organic Agriculture in Wales is proposed. The key remit of this body will be to represent the organic sector in Wales to the National Assembly for Wales. The Preparation of a co-ordinated organic information strategy to integrate research and development, education, training, advisory and other extension activities (this has been done through the establishment of a Centre for Organic Excellence in Aberystwyth in July 200044). The development of the supply infrastructure for organic food to improve the primary marketing of organic produce, thus assisting producers in retaining



41 42

Paras 89-91 House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee 2 Report 2001 Organic farming Welsh Organic Food Industry Working Group – Welsh Organic Food Sector, A Strategic Action Plan, March 1999: http://www.wales.gov.uk/subiagriculture/pdf/newdevelop/organ_e.pdf 43 Ibid: para 12 44 More information about the centre is available here: http://www.organic.aber.ac.uk/index.shtml


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control of supplies and providing support to local and national marketing initiatives. ORGANIC TARGETS IN OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES Table 4 shows the targets that have been set for conversion to Organic Agriculture in some other European countries. Table 4: organic targets in other European Countries45 Country Target year Main targets Denmark 2005 10% organic farmers
20,000 ha more than 1999 France leading European organic producer by 2010 Conversion of 1 million ha and 25,000 farmers by 2005 5% organic land by 2005 10% organic land by 2010 10% organic land 10% organic land 10% organic land




2005 & 2010

Norway Sweden Wales

2009 2000 2005

In 1995, an Action Plan for Organic Farming was introduced to encourage organic farming in Denmark. It was followed, in 1999, by a second Action Plan entitled ‘Developments in Organic Farming’. The 1995 Action Plan established the following targets for organic production: • • 7% of Danish agricultural land, corresponding to 200,000 hectares, to be converted to organic farming by the year 2000; Organic food production to achieve the following domestic market shares by the year 2000: Liquid milk: 15-20% Meat and other animal products: 10-15% Cereals: 10% Vegetables: 50% Fruit: 2%

The 1999 Action Plan focuses on environmental and social sustainability, healthy, high-quality foods and optimum animal welfare; it includes a new quantitative target for conversion of a further 170,000 hectares by the end of 2003.


Source: Organic Agriculture World-wide, Statistics and Future Prospects, Willer H & Yussefi M, SOL 2001: http://www.soel.de/inhalte/publikationen/s_74_ges.pdf

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Appendix A: A Comparison of Organic Aid Rates in the UK and Other EU Member States46 47
Payment for conversion UK £/hectare/year48
Year of AAP data eligible Other Hortigrassld culture /rough grazing £90 £10 £70 £204 £39 £271 £126 £207 £209 £38£38£38£192 £192 £192 £144- £144-£315 N/A £315 £246 £113 £113-£189 £66 £113 £72£72-£125 £72- £72-125 £125 £125 £106- £106-£187 £106£106£187 £187 £187 £113 £113 £113 £151 £155 £259 £259 £259 £114 £114 £114 N/A £163 £62-£125 £62£813 £125 £76£76-£252 £76£126£252 £252 £252 £93£70-£117 £70 £187£117 £350 £72£72-£177 £72£72£177 £177 £177 Other crops/ improved grassland £70 £74-£204 £208 £38-£192 Perm. Number crops of years paid £90 £497 £586 £38£192 £624 £190 £344 £274£523 £151 £724 N/A £1,626 £151£504 £163£280 £563 5 5 2 2 01-Mar
On-going payments


Payment UK£ /hectare /year NIL £39-£497 £78-£517 £48-£192 £110-£590 £29-£351 £57-£501 £106-£523 £35-£122 £155-£724 no data available £62-£125 £126-£420 £47-£233 £72-£563


2000 2000 1998 1999 1998 2000 1999 2000 2000 1996 1999 19981999 1998 1996 1998


02-Mar 3 regions 5 YES 5 2 2 5 5 02-Mar 2 5 YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

Source: Table 5, House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee, 2 Report 2001, Organic Farming Note: The categories of aid rates were different in each country. The land use categories closest to those used for the UK aid scheme were used for this comparison. Fuller notes on the table are provided in the Minutes of Evidence to the Committee’s report: Evidence p.106: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199900/cmselect/cmagric/681/0110104.htm. 48 Some of the payment rates may have changed if schemes have been altered following the Rural Development Regulation.



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Appendix B: Proportion of farmland organic / in conversion 1999 in EU-1549

Area of land organic/ in Proportion of Total UAA50 conversion
Austria Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Ireland Italy Luxembourg Netherlands Portugal Spain Sweden UK 290,000 18,572 146,685 136,665 316,000 452,279 17,500 32,478 958,687 1,002 21,511 47,974 352,164 155,674 390,868 8.41% 1.39% 5.40% 5.25% 1.04% 2.61% 0.30% 0.73% 5.54% 0.79% 1.09% 1.21% 1.40% 8.01% 3.15%

Research Notes are compiled for the benefit of Members of Parliament and their personal staff. Authors are available to discuss the contents of these papers with Members and their staff but cannot advise members of the general public.


Source : Certified Organic and in-conversion land area, Foster & Lambkin 2000 http://www.organic.aber.ac.uk/Eurodata%20land%20area%20WS.htm 50 Utilisable Agricultural Area

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