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OCW producer survey shows rise in organic sales from Welsh farms
The Organic Centre Wales 2016 producer survey report published this week has shown a rise in sales of organic products, despite a fall in the land area certified as organic in Wales. At the same time, there has been an increase in the number of farms and the land area covered by the Glastir Organic scheme, and there is strong interest from farms wanting to convert.
Compared with the 2015 results, organic finished lamb sales were up by 17%, from 120,000 to 140,000 head, organic finished cattle up by 16%, from 5,000 to 5,800 head, and organic milk sales up by 7%, from 56 to nearly 60 million litres. These increases are consistent with the 7% increase in UK retail market sales of organic food in 2016, showing the potential for Welsh producers to respond to growing domestic and export market opportunities.
However, the certified fully-organic and in-conversion land area recorded by Defra in 2016 fell by 1.8%, from 82.9 to 81.5 thousand ha, as a result of a combination of reduced area of land in conversion, but a 1% increase in the area of land achieving full organic status.
Confidence within the sector remains high, with 39% of producers who were surveyed indicating an intention to remain in organic production for 10 years or more and a further 38% for 3-5 years.
Nic Lampkin, Director of the Organic Research Centre which produced the report for Organic Centre Wales, raised concerns about the future: 'With only a small proportion of applicants qualifying for Glastir Organic agreements from 2017 due to funding restrictions, and no window planned for 2018 agreements, will Welsh producers be able to take advantage of the renewed optimism in the organic sector? Or will the opportunities be lost to other parts of the UK at their expense?'
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