Organic Farming

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 18th March 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has in place to (a) expedite agri-environment funding (i) applications and (ii) claims and (b) review rates of reward for the production of public goods to tackle the effect on the cash flow of organic farmers of leaving the EU without a deal.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Having taken over responsibility for this task in October 2018, the Rural Payments Agency is working to process outstanding agri-environment payments and agreements as soon as possible. We know how important these payments are to customers, which is why for Countryside Stewardship claimants, we will be making bridging payments worth 75% of their current claim value to farmers who have not received their advance payments in April.

While our priority remains to deliver a negotiated deal, we fully recognise the concerns of the organics sector and are working hard to mitigate the impact of a no deal on organic operators.

We have already confirmed that food and feed products that are certified as organic in the EU will be recognised after 29 March at the UK’s discretion. We are working to secure a reciprocal agreement so our operators can continue to export their organic produce to the EU.

We currently have no plans to review rates of reward for organic farmers.

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