Organic farming looks to possibility of uncertain future in new report

A failure to understand and face challenges could have consequences for future organic growth
A failure to understand and face challenges could have consequences for future organic growth

The Soil Association has released a report looking into the possibility of an uncertain future for the organic market in the face of Brexit.

According to the report, maintaining stability and confidence in supply chains could become increasingly complex in the face of Brexit, with potential changes in the way the UK trades with other nations.

For an expanding organic market, a failure to understand and face these challenges could have consequences for future growth.

The Soil Association Certification has taken a look at organic supply chains in the report. It identifies recommendations for building "resilience and sustainability" to meet future demand.

The report, ‘Organic Supply Chain 2017: Challenges and Opportunities’ has been developed with contributions from more than 100 organic businesses. It gathers a consensus on the obstacles and prospects within the sector.

The findings are supported by a range of case studies, showcasing businesses who are already delivering solutions.

Innovative Farmers

One of these is Innovative Farmers, a network that supports on-farm research and development.

For the organic sector, supporting knowledge exchange and technical capability in farming can boost productivity and maintain supply in an expanding market.

Lee Holdstock, Trade Relations Manager at the Soil Association, said organic farming needs stable and sustainable supply chains, with future growth depending on resilience.

“The challenges at the base of the supply chain are very different from those further along, but the performance at the base can have a very significant impact on the whole chain’s success,” Mr Holdstock said.

“One of the things this report highlights is a need for universal increased support for farmers to develop supply by building resilience on the ground.

“Programmes like Innovative Farmers are already helping to explore solutions to some of the technical challenges of production and, where organic is concerned, anything that supports resilience at the base of the chain will have knock on benefits for the processors, retailers and consumers as well.”


The report makes other key recommendations for strengthening supply chains.

It states that organic farmers must make effective use of tech solutions that improve efficiency and confidence.

It also states increasing transparency and better collaboration along the supply chain to affirm trust and build market stability.

Finally, it states that the UK must reduce reliance on organic imports to support domestic production.