Supply impact on UK organic businesses from the war in Ukraine
The current conflict in Ukraine is of significant concern to us at Soil Association Certification, and many of our clients.
First and foremost, it is the huge, and devastating impact the war is having on lives that we are most mindful of. But beyond this, we are also aware that that the situation is causing a great deal of supply uncertainty for the UK food and farming industry, including the organic sector.
We are exploring the supply impacts that the war in Ukraine may have on UK organic businesses including key organic commodity and feed markets. The UK organic market is partially reliant on the Black Sea region for grains, seed, and oil crops; in particular - organic corn, wheat, and sunflower, with an estimated 25% of organic wheat imported from Ukraine and Russia combined.
Whilst we are informed by feed manufacturers and grain traders that much of the 2021 harvests are already in the UK and that current levels of ingredient cover are adequate for the coming months, we understand that many organic businesses have concerns about future impacts, particularly around price increases and whether the conflict will impact spring planting and future supplies.
Support for the sector
Supply chains are complex, and whilst it remains too early to get a full view of potential impacts, it is possible that the availability of certain organic feed products or ingredients may be affected. We are monitoring the situation and working with licensees and Defra to explore how best to support the sector going forward.
In the meantime, Soil Association is convening an Organic Feed Stakeholder Meeting on 30th March with key feed manufacturers and Defra to gain a more robust insight on existing and future supplies of key organic feed commodities. In advance of the meeting the Agricultural Industries Confederation (agrisupply industry’s leading trade association) are collating information from feed manufacturers and grain traders about wider organic commodity stocks and supply, which will be shared at the meeting and will help to inform potential solutions.
In recognition of the exceptional situation unfolding in Ukraine and to reduce the burden on exporters, Defra have already announced an easement of additional official controls on certain organic products originating from Ukraine. Existing measures imposed on Ukrainian control bodies relating to certain organic products imported into Great Britain from Ukraine are suspended until further notice.
Additional resources for farmers
Please do explore some of the farming programmes that could help offset or reduce reliance on imported inputs over the longer term, for example:
- Pasture Fed Livestock Association Certification: We deliver joint organic and PFLA audits for organic farmers who wish to produce dairy and meat animals exclusively fed on pasture and grain-free. Read our farmer case studies to find how Balcaskie Estate and Fowlescombe Farm have transitioned to a pasture fed system on their organic farms.
- Innovative Farmers is a network of farmers and growers who are running trials on their farms, exploring solutions to some of the challenges and issues facing farming. Read about this field lab that explored how alternative home – grown protein sources could help the UK pig and poultry sectors and support a transition away from soya imports at a time when global supplies are increasingly fragile.
- Fab Farmers is a project supporting farmers in the Southwest of England, the West Midlands, or Wales, with the transition to more agro-ecological practices on their farms. Soil Association are delivering a series of events and activities this summer to help farmers network and learn from each other.
We fully appreciate the concern that the current situation is causing many organic producers and manufacturers. We will keep you updated on the key insights that we have as the situation develops and the potential solutions available to the sector.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions or would like to talk anything through. You can get in touch directly with your normal point of contact, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.