Non-organic perennial crop update

Non-organic perennial crop update

After discussion at the UK certification body technical working group, UK certification bodies have agreed a consistent approach to the handling requests for non-organic perennial crops from January 2021

Under the EU Organic regulations EC 889/2008 and 834/2007, there is no allowance to plant non-organic transplants into organic land. However, in recognition of the lack of availability of organic perennials in the UK, certification bodies will allow non-organic perennials to be planted into organic land, when no organic or in-conversion plants are available, and after prior approval from your Certification Officer. These non-organic perennials will be required to undergo a three-year conversion period before their products can be sold as organic. After 12 months of conversion, the crop can be sold as in-conversion. There will be no impact on the organic status of the land. This will apply to all perennial crops, including fruit bushes, fruit trees, ornamentals and strawberry transplants planted after January 2021.

We intend to implement these changes for plantings from the beginning of 2021; therefore, any perennials planted onto your organic land after the implementation date must undergo the three-year conversion period. We're actively engaging with plant propagators to encourage production of organic perennial transplants, particularly those that will be producing crops within three years, such as varieties of soft fruit and ornamental plants.

There will be no change to how we handle request for non-organic seed or vegetative propagating materials - the requirements for approving use of non-organic seed are outlined in a recent Certification News article.    

We hope that this change will bring greater consistency across all UK certification bodies, and encourage propagators to certify as organic, increasing the availability of organic perennial transplants for all UK growers.

If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact your Certification Officer.