Organic farmers have asked the Government for permission to take a “holiday” from strict organic standards in an attempt to survive the recession.
The drastic move by organisations including the Soil Association follows a dip in sales of organic produce and fears for the future of Britain\’s 5,000 organic farmers.
Sales of organic food slumped 10 per cent in the 12 weeks up to the end of November, according to the latest figures from the consumer researchers TNS. Overall food sales over the same period were up 6 per cent.
Organic certification bodies, including the Soil Association, the country\’s biggest campaigner for organic food and farming, asked Hilary Benn, the Rural Affairs Secretary, last week for approval to relax the rules for an indefinite period. They want their members to be able to use conventional animal feed instead of organic food concentrate, which costs double. Average organic feed prices are £320 a tonne compared with £160 a tonne for conventional feed.
So if organic farming is more expensive then it must use more resources, yes? Given that costs are a measure of the resources used as inputs.
So this claim that organic farming is better for the planet somewhat falls down, doesn\’t it?