Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:12 pm on 25th October 2018.

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Helen Browning:

Yes, I would like there to be an organic conversion scheme and ongoing payments for organic farmers in recognition of the public goods that they continue to deliver. That is a very cost-effective way for money to be deployed. It would be really helpful.

We are languishing right at the bottom, now, of the European league table in terms of the amount of food that is produced in this country that is organic, compared with our neighbours. There is so much potential, with what is happening in places such as Italy. Italy is 15% organic now. It is remarkable: in public procurement schemes in Copenhagen, 75% of the food must be organic that goes into schools and hospitals. So many countries have really got behind it, and it is a really good vehicle for change, so I would like to see that as a key part of the proposition going forward. That will help to move us in that direction of net zero emissions, biodiversity regenerating, diverse food supply and getting rid of pesticides. I think all of those things would be hugely helped if we were to give more support to the organic sector.