|February 20, 2004,
organic-research.com: Wales organic lands soar
900 percent since 1998 according to a new report from
the Organic Centre Wales, Aberystwyth. The report also
notes the retail market for organic fruit and vegetables
in Wales was in about £20 million for the year 2002/03.
While organic agriculture has made great strides in the
Welsh landscape and marketplace, organic growers still
continue to struggle according to findings.
“Whilst these are challenging times, opportunities
still exist for Welsh organic growers” said Nic
Lampkin, Director of Organic Centre Wales. “Forming
producer groups is one way to access new markets, as
well as the potential for supplying Welsh food manufacturers,
direct sales and public procurement initiatives.”
The report recommends that improved cooperation, supply
continuity, and information could open significant market
opportunities for Welsh organic growers. There is great
potential for public procurement – supplying Welsh
schools, hospitals and local authorities with fresh,
healthy, local organic fruit and vegetables. Supplying
food processors could also reduce imports. For instance,
ingredients supply for soup manufacturing, baking, and
Organic horticultural production now accounts for 10
percent of the total horticultural land in Wales, according
to the report. This compares to UK organic horticulture,
which accounts for just 4 percent of the total horticultural
land in the UK.
A survey of Welsh organic growers identified a number
of key challenges including price deflation, market
access, and labor availability. Growers supplying to
supermarkets suffered from a high level of grade-outs.
In addition, smaller growers are facing heightened competition
within an increasingly rationalized supply base. The
study also found that Welsh consumers have a strong
belief in supporting local farmers – more than
in any other region in the UK. They are also less ‘put-off’
by the price of organic food.
The report, supported by Farming Connect, is the first
detailed study into Welsh organic horticulture production.
The full document, ‘Improving market intelligence
for organic horticulture in Wales’, can be downloaded
from the Organic
Centre Wales website.