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UK farmers and growers commended for environmentally friendly practice

For produce including leeks, asparagus, beetroot and lettuce, virtually all UK crop was grown to LEAF Marque standards.


Lauren   Dean

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Lauren   Dean
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Farmers commended for environmentally friendly practice as #LEAFMarque boosts business

Farmers and growers have proven their commitment to more sustainable farming methods with another substantial jump in environmentally friendly produce.

 

Since its launch in 2001, Linking Environment And Farming’s (Leaf) branded certification LEAF Marque has allowed consumers to ‘meet the farmer’ who produced their food by entering the Leaf Tracks number found on the packet.

 

According to its latest Global Impacts report, launched yesterday (March 22) at the LEAF Marque Summit held at The Odney Club, Berkshire, numbers have jumped to 1,032 certified businesses in 34 countries across the globe.

 

It said the area of crop produced throughout the world had also grown more than 19,000 ha (46,950 acres) over the past 12 months to 386,500 ha (955,062 acres), with 81 per cent produced in the UK.


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51 per cent was cereal, with 43 per cent horticulture.

 

Leaf chief executive Caroline Drummond said: “We are delighted with the progress we have made and are seeing some real and lasting change in the resilience, productivity and health of farmland across the globe delivering public goods.

 

“Our Global Impacts Report demonstrates how a credible, market-based, independent, science and evidence-based assured system like LEAF Marque can help drive forward strong connections between farmers, consumers and the wider supply chain.”

 

Growth

Among the crops grown, the top five included wheat, barley, potato, oilseed rape and lettuce and in the UK alone, certified fresh produce peaked at 36 per cent, up from 25 per cent three years ago.

For some produce including leeks (95 per cent), asparagus (91 per cent), beetroot (88 per cent) and lettuce (87 per cent), virtually all UK crop was grown to LEAF Marque standards.

 

The report said significant growth had also been made in the livestock sector, with an increase of more than 3,500 sheep and cattle reared alongside the scheme compared to last year and more than 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) of permanent or temporary grassland grown.

 

Other environmental efforts such as soil protection (40 per cent), renewable energy (44 per cent) and waste management (51 per cent) were commended alongside biodiversity, biosecurity and conservation practices.

 

Ms Drummond added: “The challenges the sector faces are many, but so is the potential for transformation.”

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