There’s good news for the organic industry in Scotland despite the Brexit uncertainty, as demand for organic food is at its highest in recent times, and the payments to certified farmers and growers are reflected in this trend.
The Scottish Organic Producers Association (SOPA) is encouraging those who are considering making the switch to organic to do the sums, as all organic commodities currently have premiums ranging from £140/t premium for organic barley, to farmgate £4.50/kgdw for organic prime beef.
Roger Baird, SOPA board member and Director at independent grain merchant W N Lindsay said:
“The increasing demand for organic crops in Scotland, has ensured a minimum £100/t over their conventional counterparts. Confidence is now at a level where organic end users are offering very attractive fixed price contracts for the 2017 harvest.”
For those who are interested in making the switch to organic, there are funding opportunities available through the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS), which promotes land management practices that protect and enhance Scotland’s magnificent natural heritage, improve water quality, manage flood risk, and mitigate and adapt to climate change.
With the funding applications deadline approaching on the 31st of March, SOPA is encouraging all those interested to apply for funding while it’s available.
SOPA Policy Manager Debs Roberts said “With the only Scottish-based organic standards in the UK, SOPA has been the foundation of organics in Scotland for nearly thirty years. As such we are well placed to advise on organic markets and the higher rates of funding now available. We are also registered as an AECS agent to make organic applications. With our years of practical experience we know the ins and outs of the scheme and what is required.”
“We’re currently seeing the highest payment rates for organic farmers in recent times, and with uncertainty surrounding the future of farming due to Brexit, now is the time to make use of the funding opportunities available. Tesco have reported a 15% rise in organic sales in the past year, which is very positive news for the industry.”
Those who are interested in finding out more about the funding opportunities available through AECS can do so via the Rural Payments and Services website, or by getting in touch with SOPA’s Membership Support team on 0131 335 6606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.