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Scottish Government set to boost organic sector with new development fund

In the face of a fall in the amount of organic land in Scotland, the Scottish Government aims to boost its organics sector with a £50,000 development fund.
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The deadline for applications for 'Organic Ambitions' is 1 July 2016.
The deadline for applications for 'Organic Ambitions' is 1 July 2016.

‘Organic Ambitions’ – the industry’s action plan for 2016-20 – will initially focus on innovative approaches to strengthening the supply chain.

 

The Organic Ambitions Fund will support one or more applications that can develop existing relationships, identify and address critical gaps and demonstrate a proven track record.

 

The deadline for applications is 1 July 2016. Applications can be made here.

 

The 2015 Organic Farming Statistics, published on Monday, indicated the amount of organic land in Scotland fell by seven per cent in 2015, from 136,000 to 126,000 hectares, its lowest since the 1990s.

 

The numbers of cattle, pigs and poultry that are certified organic have increased.

 

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The aim is to strengthen and promote Scotland’s organic food and drink supply chain through better partnership working.

 

Spending

 

"Organic spend in Scotland increased by 2.6 per cent between February 2015 and January 2016, and around £52.6m was spent on organic food and drink products in Scotland in the year up to 31 January 2016.

 

"There’s clearly evidence of strong demand and potential to boost the rural economy.”

 

Chair of the Scottish Organic Forum (SOF), David Michie, added: “The key is to ensure we connect every link in the organic chain, from supply through to demand, making sure farmers, growers, producers and processors are able to create the right amount and range of top-quality organic products here in Scotland.

 

“We’re at an exciting turning point. The number of farm businesses converting to organic is already increasing, and the market for organic is on the up.

 

"After several years of contraction the organic sector needs some support to rebuild in a strong and resilient way.”

 

The Scottish Government and SOF developed Scotland’s first Organic Action Plan in 2011. This year they jointly produced Organic Ambitions, a five-year industry-led plan centred on developments in knowledge, strength, skills and resilience.

 


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