What a farmer’s really worth
THE UK’S organic-food market is in its fifth year of strong growth and is now worth more than £2 billion, says a new Soil Association (SA) report. Sales of organic produce, especially in the health-and-beauty sector, rose by 7% last year, with supermarkets accounting for 69% and the number of farmers applying for SA certification up by 13%.
However, there’s room for further growth; British organic produce is seen as ‘the best that you can possibly buy’, especially in the Far East, USA and Europe, yet the UK represents only 4% of the global organic market. That said, nearly half of all SA licensees are exporters, to the value of £250 million.
This news comes at the same time as the NFU’S announcement that, for every £1 invested in farm support in this country, the industry delivers £7.40 back to the economy —this is the first time that farming’s contribution has been expressed in terms of cold, hard cash and ‘dem- onstrates well that money invested by Government into UK farming is money invested wisely,’ says NFU President Meurig Raymond.
‘Farmers play a huge role in contributing to the wealth and prosperity of the country,’ he continues. ‘[They spend] £15.3 billion on goods and services… and the iconic British countryside that farmers manage [they operate on 70% of British land] provides the backdrop for visitors from across the world—this tourism is worth over £21 billion.’
He adds: ‘Decision-makers in Government can take this important message to the formal postbrexit negotiations.’
In addition, at last week’s NFU Annual Conference, a new report, Feeding the Future, Four Years On, was launched, which identifies several innovations that will enable British agriculture to boost its competitiveness, resilience and profitability—vital reading in the run-up to triggering Article 50 (see page 33 ).