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Organic Ambitions: Soil Association Calls for a Greener Future in Farming

The Soil Association has called for a more ambitious vision for the future of organic farming, welcoming certain government initiatives but emphasising that eco-friendly agriculture should take precedence.

The association criticised the government's approach of seeking quick fixes rather than adopting a long-term strategy for sustainable agriculture.

Following the Prime Minister's speech at the NFU Conference, which introduced measures to enhance productivity, including a £427 million grant for farmers, the Soil Association highlighted the need for more strategic planning.

Gareth Morgan, the head of farming policy at the Soil Association, remarked, "Financial injections for our farmers, who are currently facing significant uncertainty, are appreciated, but today's announcement seems to be a quest for quick solutions rather than outlining a feasible future."

Morgan suggested that the government should invest in research, advice, and support to help farmers reduce their reliance on harmful and costly inputs, rather than hoping for a decrease in the price of fossil fuel-derived fertilisers.

He argued that while new technology and setting aside land for habitats are important, they are insufficient on their own. Nature-friendly food production should be a priority to achieve transformative change across the 70% of the UK that is farmland.

For genuine food security, the government is urged to enhance the Sustainable Farming Incentives with a courageous vision for resilient farming, taking cues from organic and agroecological farmers who employ truly sustainable and regenerative methods.

Morgan pointed out that other European countries have set targets to increase organic farming, recognising the benefits it brings. Without clear targets, he warned, farmers will struggle to cope with climate change impacts and meet the rising demand for sustainable and organic food.

The Soil Association also stressed the importance of fair supply chains that reward climate and nature-friendly production.

The government's active role in ensuring fair deals for farmers was welcomed, with hopes that this approach would extend to securing trade deals that do not undermine British farmers.


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