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British organic farmers call for ambitious government policy overhaul

OF&G’s chief executive, Roger Kerr says the future of food and farming is becoming a political hot potato.


Roger Kerr, OF&G’s chief executive.

Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) has published a manifesto targeting policymakers, which sets out a framework for radical policy change based on the four principles of the organic food and farming movement – health, ecology, fairness, and care.

OF&G’s chief executive, Roger Kerr says the future of food and farming is becoming a political hot potato.

“The nation’s seen huge upheaval in the last eight years. A flawed food system has left the country at the tipping point of catastrophic environmental and human health crises. Decisive action cannot come soon enough. We need policies that create jobs, improve rural livelihoods while delivering sustainable and economically viable food and farming systems,” says Mr Kerr.

“Restoring this balance and equity requires ambition and vision from Government. The long-term effects of recent policies are still unfolding, but the need for action is urgent. One thing is clear; we must aspire to accomplish more.”

By considering organic’s four founding principles, OF&G’s manifesto identifies solutions that address the huge disparity that exists in current food and farming systems. 


To tackle the prevalence of cheap, highly processed foods, the organic certifier calls for a food partnership and plan to be established across all regions. These would run alongside initiatives that ensure healthy and sustainable food is made available to people in care (children, the sick and the elderly). New levies would be introduced to fund pathways to make healthier food more accessible to 7.2 million people living in food insecure households in the UK . 


In terms of addressing nature degradation that risks causing a 12% loss to UK GDP , OF&G proposes additional funding to support organic farming. The introduction of a land use framework should also incorporate new food and farming strategies (including horticulture). Within this strategy would be the delivery of an Organic Action Plan to increase the farmed area to 10% organic land – a three-fold uplift on today’s level.


Under the manifesto’s fairness heading, OF&G also makes recommendations which include the implementation of transparent supply chain contracts, and new eco-food labelling to better inform consumers. 


Finally, the delivery of a higher level of care would be facilitated by clear trade policies that ensure a level playing field for farmers, producers and consumers while protecting high health, welfare and environmental standards. This would extend to the roll-out of a mandatory co-existence framework to allow greater choice around the consumption of genetically edited foods.

“Implementing OF&G’s recommendations would have a massive, beneficial impact. Organic is a defined farming system and operates to the highest level of compliance to deliver on all four of the principles outlined,” adds Mr Kerr.

“The recent formal adoption of regulation on nature restoration by the EU shows that, with political will, change is possible.  By advocating for policy changes that support health, ecology, fairness, and care, we can create a sustainable, equitable, vibrant and healthy food system. Organic is part of the solution to the challenges confronting us but is not just about changing farming practices, it is about championing a profound, positive impact on our society and the planet.”

OF&G’s Organic’s Four Pillars for Change manifesto is available to downloaded here:

OF&G is one of the largest control bodies in the UK, certifying over 50% of UK organic land and operating across Great Britain and Northern Ireland, including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man. 
OF&G has more than 40 years’ experience in the organic sector and is the longest established Defra-approved organic control body. The company’s headquarters are in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.  

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