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Much-In-Demand Organic Meat Being Held Up By Shortage Of Feed

by 5m Editor
13 April 2007, at 10:08am

UK - Demand for organic food is on a steady upward course, but the supply of organic animal products is being held up by shortages of feed, including grass, says the Soil Association, the umbrella body for the movement.

With organic feed supply problems affecting organic poultry, pig, and dairy farmers there is an urgent need to expand UK organic arable production. This is confirmed by leading feed manufacturer BOCM Pauls, which says it is having to source organic grain and pulses from overseas, mainly France and Italy, to keep up with demand.

This is due to tightening of the EU standards for organic provenance of feed for livestock production.

One of the few areas set to buck this trend is the traditionally beef and sheep producing area of north-east England, which has seen a major swing to towards organic arable production in the past 18 months, according to Gillian Butler, livestock programme manager at Newcastle University's ecological farming programme.

"I think this is largely due to the advantages of the organic environment scheme in England, which offers producers £60 per hectare against half that for the conventional stewardship scheme, although it also has to be remembered we are starting from a relatively lower base," she said.

Scotland continues to lag behind the UK's progress in the organic movement, largely as a result of the stop-start approach to the organic aid scheme operated under the Scottish Rural Development Plan. The last aid scheme came to an end towards the end of last year. It is anticipated the next scheme will re-open for applications in the second half of the current year, with payments made in 2008.

Source: Scotsman

5m Editor