New scheme to support organic farmers in Wales

New plans to support organic farmers in Wales have been set out by the Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies. This follows the recent consultationsee responses here

In a statement to Assembly Members, Alun Davies emphasised how important organic farming was to the future of Wales’ agricultural sector and highlighted that organic status invariably added value to products and resulted in greater environmental sustainability.

However the Minister acknowledged that the last few years had been challenging for the organic sector. He said:
“We know that the economic downturn has had a negative affect on organic sales across the UK but during this difficult period I have sought to re-assure organic farmers that the Welsh Government will continue to recognise the benefits of organic farming.

“Back in 2011 I set out my intention to ensure Wales has a stand alone scheme to support organic farmers under the next Rural Development Programme, and last year I asked a consortium, led by the Organic Research Centre to consult with organic producers and advise me on what a new scheme under the next RDP should look like.

“We have since consulted on those proposals and I am now in a position to provide more detail of our new scheme to support organic farming.

“Importantly the scheme includes increased support for training and modernisation. This has been made possible by my decision to transfer 15% of CAP budget from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 and will help us to build resilience and long term sustainability into Wales’ organic farming sector.

“I hope the new scheme provides re-assurance to organic farmers across Wales that this Government remains committed to the principles of organic farming as an important part of our wider strategy for agriculture and will ensure that organic farming develops in way that is sustainable and contributes to the future prosperity of rural Wales.”

Under the new arrangements:

  • Farmers can join the new stand alone Glastir Organic Scheme while remaining eligible for other parts of Glastir
  • Reimbursement rates for the organic scheme will be reviewed to reflect changing costs for the ongoing maintenance of being organic
  • There will be requirements and reimbursement for ongoing training and skills development
  • Organic farmers will have equal access to capital support to modernise infrastructure under the new Sustainable Production scheme
  • Efforts will be made to ensure that conversion payment rates do not lead to farmers moving to organic without an ongoing strategy for maintaining profitability
  • Farmers seeking support from RDP to farm organically will need to have an appropriate business plan in place.
  • Details on the proposed payment rates for the new scheme are expected to be made available next month.

Read the Minister’s statement here

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