The Welsh Government must end the uncertainty for organic producers in Wales and support the sector in developing viable, profitable markets for Welsh organic produce, says NFU Cymru.
This message comes as part of the Union’s response to the Welsh Government’s Consultation on Organic Farming Support 2015-2020.
Organic dairy farmer Haydn Evans, of Pembrokeshire, who represents NFU Cymru on the NFU Organic Issues Group said, “The lack of policy direction from Welsh Government has been of critical concern to our organic members and a significant contributory factor in the drift back to conventional farming systems.
“There is no doubt that the economic downturn has challenged the development of markets for organic produce whilst costs of production within the sector have escalated. Yet globally, the market for organic produce is growing year on year and with appropriate marketing support, there are opportunities for organic producers in Wales going forward.”
In its written response, NFU Cymru highlighted that Welsh Government needs to ensure that future expansion of the organic sector is stimulated by demand for products, with conversion payments that recognise the added costs of conversion and maintenance payments which better reflect the actual costs of organic management.
NFU Cymru has also expressed its strong opposition to the proposed targeting of organic support through the adoption of environmental and/or economic sustainability criteria, arguing that all farmers should be able to access support for organic farming if they so wish. Mr Evans concluded, “Since all farmers will effectively be contributing to Pillar 2 via pillar transfer, it is essential that any future organic support is available to all farmers in Wales and not limited through targeting.”