Focused funding for organic farms
For “organic” read “multifunctional”. That was the headline message from Organic Research Centre president Professor Hardy Vogtmann in his closing address to the second Organic Producer Conference held at Cirencester December 10 and 11.
In his speech, Professor Vogtmann carved a new niche for organic farming in the increasingly tightly funded world of EU agriculture. Organic farming, he said, delivers so much more than food and deserves enhanced funding as a result.
“Ecological health equals economic welfare,” says Professor Vogtmann. And he went on to assert that future design of the CAP must have social and ecological benefits as key drivers.
He is calling for 20 per cent of all EU agricultural funds to be dedicated to organic production. In addition he would like to see extra funds for organic breeding (plants and livestock), a ban on GM, support for organic marketing and an abandonment of funding support for maize (corn).
Too many politicians see organic agriculture as merely delivering an absence of pesticides. Alongside wholesome food, he listed conservation, recreation, amenity, landscape, education, higher employment and clean water as key organic outputs.
And Professor Vogtmann argued that only organic farming fulfils international commitments to the Rio Convention on biodiversity.