Engaging with the Scottish Government
18 June 2013
The need for transitional arrangements for organic conversion and maintenance 2014-2015
The Scottish Organic Forum is engaging in negotiations with Scottish Government to secure ongoing funding for organic farming during the transition period to the new Rural Development Programme. Our proposal is based on annual extensions to existing Rural Priorities contracts, which is a system recently announced by the Welsh devolved government.
These negotiations are not finalised and agreements are not approved yet, but you can be assured the organic sector is acutely aware of the challenges facing us and this is a high priority area of work.
Our first priority is to secure funding to support organic maintenance during 2014 and 2015.
Our second priority is to work with the Scottish Government to target specific land and business types for converting to organic farming in order to meet the growing demand for organic food.
What the Forum has said
Benefits of organic farming and contribution to Scottish Government policies
Organic farming promotes sustainable production systems that protect vital ecosystem services – air, soil, water, biodiversity. Organic farming delivers substantial carbon savings, pollution control, soil protection, flood reduction and biodiversity benefits, which can contribute significantly to the following key Scottish Government policies.
- SNP Election Manifesto commitment to support organic farming
- Climate Change Delivery Plan
- A Low Carbon Economy
- The Scottish Organic Action Plan
- Climate Change Adaptation Plan
- The Rural Diffuse Pollution Plan & Scottish Soil Framework
- Scottish Biodiversity Strategy & A Land Use Strategy for Scotland
- Recipe for Success & Fresh Thinking (SFD strategy)
The Scottish Organic Forum is calling on Scottish Government to work with us to provide transitional support to organic farmers. There are many complementary benefits for certified organic farming systems, and it is a government manifesto commitment to work with the industry to support the Scottish Organic Action Plan.
Demand for organic food is growing, particularly in milk, malting barley, beef and vegetables such as carrots and Swedes. Without a show of support towards production, these opportunities are at risk of being lost.
We would seek organic maintenance support during 2014 and 2015. As a second priority, we would seek to work with the Scottish Government to target specific land and business types for converting to organic farming in order to meet the growing demand for organic food.