Growers who are looking to convert from conventional to organic farming now have the option to add value to their crop’s marketing during the transition period.
Pre-O is an emerging certification body which recognises farmers making the transition to organic and ensures they are paid accordingly, making the process more economically viable.
Constantin Huet came up with the initiative after he realised the financial challenges farmers face during the typical two-year transition period farmland must go through when it is being converted.
He says: “In arable, yields can fall by 20 per cent during this time, but farmers are still paid conventional prices until they are fully certified and that can be off-putting. By being Pre-O certified, the idea is they are paid more than conventional producers, but less than organic.”
For example, conventionally grown apples on the supermarket shelf might cost £1 and organic apples might be £2, but Pre-O apples would be £1.50, he says.
This also makes pesticide-free products more affordable for the consumer, he adds.
Pre-O, which is in talks with one of the big five supermarkets, is launching a pilot scheme in the UK. Mr Huet is welcoming farmers to sign up for it via the Pre-O website where interested retail partners can also reach out.