Scots organic food producers hail surge in demand

Scotland's organic producers have been benefiting from a surge in demand for their produce '“ and certified farmers and growers are currently benefiting from a boost in farmgate prices, according to the country's leading organic co-operative.

Producers can gain a premium by switching to organic. Picture: Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images

And the Scottish Organic Producers Association (Sopa) said it was encouraging those who were considering making the switch to organic to do the sums – claiming that organic commodities were currently gaining premiums in the order of £140 per tonne premium for organic barley and £4.50 per kg deadweight for organic prime beef.

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Roger Baird, Sopa board member and director of grain merchants W N Lindsay, said there was a minimum premium of £100 a tonne for organic crops.

He added: “Confidence is now at a level where organic end users are offering very attractive fixed-price contracts for the 2017 ­harvest.”

Sopa’s policy manager, Debs Roberts, said that while there were funding opportunities available through the agri-environment climate scheme, the deadline for applications of 31 March was fast approaching.

Roberts encouraged anyone interested in converting to organic production to apply for funding while it was available, adding: “With the only Scottish-based organic standards in the UK, Sopa has been the foundation of organics in Scotland for nearly 30 years.

“We’re currently seeing the highest payment rates for organic farmers in recent times, and with uncertainty surrounding the future of farming due to Brexit, now is the time to make use of the funding opportunities available.”