FIFTH SPECIAL REPORT
The Agriculture Committee has agreed to the following
The Committee has received the following memorandum
from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, constituting
the Government's Reply to the Second Report from the Committee
of the 2000-01 Session, Organic Farming, made to the House
on 17 January 2001.
* * * *
These are difficult and challenging times for farming.
The way in which we produce our food is now a major focus of public
debate. People are increasingly looking at alternatives to the
intensive farming methods that have been a feature of British
agriculture in recent decades. Organic farming is one - but only
one - such alternative. It cannot satisfy our needs in isolation,
but it has an important contribution to make.
Against this background, the Government welcomes
the Agriculture Committee's Report as an important contribution
to a multifaceted debate. Many of the issues raised in the
Report are directly relevant to the increasingly inclusive discussion
about future public policy towards organic farming, both in the
United Kingdom and elsewhere in the European Union. The Government
intends to make a distinctive contribution to this debate. Suggestions
have included changes to the form of taxpayer support for organic
farming and the preparation of a national plan for the development
of organic farming in England. The Committee's Report will help
the Government develop its thinking on such ideas, some of which
are of direct concern to the midterm evaluation of the England
Rural Development Programme, due for completion in 2003.
In the Foreword to its Report, the Committee identified
a number of themes for particular attention.
First, the Committee noted the need for the expansion
of the organic sector to be sustainable and proposed the development
of partnerships which will benefit all those in the supply chain
for organic produce. The Government agrees with these sentiments
and notes particularly the Committee's view that there is a strong
case for caution over the extent to which Government support helps
expand the rate at which land is brought into organic farming.
It is the market that will be the principal determinant.
Second, the Committee drew attention to consumer
demand for organic produce and the perceptions which some consumers
have of the benefits which organic production methods provide.
The Committee calls for more work to be done to establish a scientific
basis on which claims made for organic produce can be founded.
The Government agrees entirely that consumers must be given sound
information on which to base judgments about what they buy. And
the Government is addressing through its R&D programme the
need to conduct R&D on certain aspects of organic production,
such as more effective organic production methods and environmental
issues. However, there is no consensus that organic standards
can be entirely science based since they are grounded in a system
with philosophical roots.
Third, the Committee asks for organic and conventional
agriculture to be seen as interdependent. The Government strongly
supports the view that the agricultural sector needs to be seen
in the round and that each part of it contributes to diversity
of practice and to consumer choice.
Different arrangements for the support of organic
farming apply in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales,
and this response reflects the position in England. Organic standards
are set for the United Kingdom as a whole.
The recommendations in italics refer to Part VI
of the Committee's Report and are referred to by number.
Claims Made for Organics
1. We have seen no evidence to enable us to
state unequivocally that any of the many claims made for organics
are always and invariably true. All claims need to be properly
evaluated in order to help consumers make their own judgements
on the benefits of organic produce (paragraph 5).
2. We believe it important that the claims
can be tested and verified in order that consumers know what they
are really buying (paragraph 6).
The Government agrees that consumers should be able
to make an informed choice about the products that they buy. It
is important that the meaning of the term "organic"
is well understood, and the Government looks to producers and
retailers to work to this end. The legal framework helps, since
it is illegal in some circumstances to market individual organic
products on the basis that the product is safer, of better nutritional
quality or tastes better than conventionally produced products.
Market for Organics
3. It is clear that there is a huge opportunity
for UK producers to expand still further into organic farming
to meet a ready market (paragraph 22).
The Government agrees. With around 70% of the UK
market for organic produce being supplied by imports, there is
considerable opportunity for import substitution by increasing
domestic production. But there is a need at the same time to avoid
oversupply and the consequent effect on market premia for organic
produce. Prices of organic produce available for export to the
UK will also have an impact on the domestic premia.
4. It is vital that the organic industry develops
its ability to market its products effectively so that they appeal
not to sentiment but to proven benefits. The industry may need
to be less messianic and more marketingorientated in its
public presentations (paragraph 32).
The Government agrees with the Committee's view that
to be viable the organic sector must market its products effectively.
As subsequent sections of the Report make clear, there are ample
Local Marketing Schemes
5. We recommend that the Government encourage
the further development of local marketing schemes, such as farmers'
markets and box schemes, through the provision of advice and ERDP
funding (paragraph 33).
The Government welcomes the development of local
marketing schemes. It has actively supported the farmers' market
movement, encouraging the establishment of the National Association
of Farmers Markets and grant aiding certain of its activities.
As well as helping to launch the Association, the Minister of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has made a point of visiting a
number of farmers' markets in England. He has also written to
local authority leaders to draw their attention to the potential
benefits that such markets can bring. The Countryside Agency is
also seeking to encourage the development of farmers' markets
and other local food marketing initiatives as part of their "Eat
the View" initiative.
Funding is available under the England Rural Development
Programme's Rural Enterprise Scheme through the 'marketing of
quality agricultural products' measure which can assist in the
development and marketing of organic products. Funding is also
available to help establish new farmers' markets. Good quality
projects from individual farmers, groups of farmers, rural businesses
and rural communities are welcome. As the Rural Enterprise Scheme
is a competitive scheme delivered on a regional basis, projects
should reflect regional objectives and priorities as set out in
Supermarkets and Organics
6. Supermarkets will be the main, although
not the only, distribution channel for organic produce. It is
critical that they are involved in the design of and encouraged
to cofund future initiatives to further organic conversion
The Government accepts that the multiples will continue
to be the principal channel through which organic produce is marketed.
It follows that they will need to be closely involved in the future
development of organic production. The buying power of the multiples
means that they can play a major role in encouraging the conversion
of land to organic farming. The Government agrees that they should
be involved in the design and, where possible, the delivery of
any future initiatives to encourage organic conversion, although
the legal framework within which rural development measures operate
places constraints on cofinancing between government and
However, there is no reason why the multiples should
not continue to put their own schemes in place. The Government
will seek to encourage them to do so and ensure that such initiatives
fit well with Government support.
7. We recommend that the Government work with
the bodies responsible for the promotion of organic production
to ensure that rural development funds are channelled into the
development of supplier partnerships and farmercontrolled
cooperatives in the organic sector (paragraph 38).
The Government agrees that the further development
of supplier partnerships, and the increased scale and access to
professional technical and marketing expertise that can be provided
by farmercontrolled businesses, would be of considerable
benefit to organic producers. The significant new capital and
noncapital funding now available under the England Rural
Development Programme can play an important role in pumppriming
such initiatives. Indeed improved marketing, and increased levels
of cooperation and collaboration between primary producers
and amongst all players in the supply chain, are priorities for
support under the Programme. The Government hopes that suitable
proposals will come forward from the organic sector, and that
these are able to receive support. MAFF and its partner organisations
will continue to promote awareness of the ERDP schemes and understanding
of what they can offer, including promoting them directly to the
organic sector. MAFF and the NFU have in train a joint initiative
to promote interest in collaborative marketing and a programme
of activity for 2001/02 is in development.
8. We welcome the additional aid for small
and medium sized abattoirs announced in the Rural White Paper
and await with interest details of the package and we urge the
Government to stimulate the development of new small abattoirs,
including mobile abattoirs (paragraph 40).
The Government notes the Committee's welcome for
additional aid for small and medium sized abattoirs now being
taken forward by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which is responsible
for implementing European and domestic legislation on meat hygiene,
including charges and other related matters. As the Committee
will recall, the Government accepted the conclusions of the task
force established last year by the FSA under the independent chairmanship
of Colin Maclean in respect of the basis for charging for meat
inspections. As a result the Government will be providing around
£19 million per annum towards the cost of meat inspection
in Great Britain. The FSA is now working towards implementing
the new charging system which is expected to come into force on
2 April 2001.
The Government understands the importance of local
slaughtering facilities and also recognises the significance of
small and medium sized and specialist abattoirs to the rural economy.
The Government understands too the reason for interest in the
potential role of mobile abattoirs for organic livestock. The
Committee may be interested to know that last year, under the
Agricultural Development Scheme, we supported a study of the feasibility
of operating a mobile slaughter unit in central southern England.
The study was completed in October last year and the company concerned
is now considering whether to progress further.
9. The multiplicity of bodies with their different
standards and symbols is a significant weakness and we believe
that the certification bodies should be encouraged by the Government
in their efforts at closer cooperation, which may lead ultimately
to mergers (paragraph 46).
The Government understands the Committee's arguments.
Creating confusion for consumers is not in the public interest.
Opinion within the organic movement on whether there are too many
certification bodies is divided. Some agree with the Committee.
Others argue that the present arrangements permit a wider range
of producers to enter the sector than might be the case if just
one set of standards was in place; and that the existence of several
bodies more readily permits standards development by enabling
standards above the legal norm to be piloted. The Government has
encouraged close coordination between the certification
bodies. The current review of UKROFS is likely to impact on this
issue, and the Government will consider the results of the Review
in due course, taking into account the Committee's own recommendation.
Farm Assurance Schemes and Organic Certification
10. We recommend that MAFF facilitate discussions
between the farm assurance schemes and the organic certification
sector with a view to ensuring agreement on common core values
and inspection protocols and with the goal of a single inspection
process and shared symbols (paragraph 48).
The Government agrees that there would be benefit
in looking at the scope for coordination and cooperation
between assurance schemes and organic certification bodies, though
these are primarily matters for the industry itself. As the Committee
notes, there have already been some helpful moves in this direction.
The Government has welcomed the establishment of Assured Food
Standards and its proposed development of an integrated and common
framework within which existing assurance schemes can work; and
it will encourage Assured Food Standards, the existing assurance
schemes and the organic certification bodies to build on the contacts
that have taken place with a view to closer cooperation
and integration wherever possible.
In the short term the priority must be to ensure
that Assured Food Standards is firmly established. It will be
important to guard against confusion in the mind of the consumer
between organic produce and that produced under Assured Food Standards
and consequent dilution of market impact for both.
European Regulation on Organic Production
11. We recommend that the Government ensure
that the European Commission reports regularly on the implementation
of the regulation and actively encourage the European Parliament
to monitor this implementation. The Government should produce
a "Non Paper" for distribution at the Agriculture Council
to further this end (paragraph 52).
12. We further recommend that MAFF be proactive
in drafting EU regulations and ensuring their scientific validity
before they are written into law. MAFF should also, either directly
or through UKROFS or the FSA, seek to monitor the effect of regulations
to ensure that other public policy objectives are not compromised
The Government agrees that there is benefit in having
wellfocussed information about practices in other Member
States, though resource constraints will mean that comprehensive
information is not always achievable. The Commission will also
have its own view of where its limited resources can most effectively
be deployed. The Government will bear in mind the Committee's
proposal for action within the Agriculture Council: finding the
right opportunity will be important.
The Government notes that MAFF already plays a full
role in the Commission's working groups through which Community
organic standards are developed. In doing so, officials aim to
take full account of the wishes and interests of the UK organic
industry as expressed in responses to consultation. However, there
is no consensus that organic standards should be based purely
on scientific criteria, since they take account of traditional
agricultural practice as well as a philosophical approach to what
is correct agricultural practice.
Organic Production Standards in Third Countries
13. Unless these discrepancies are removed,
there is a real danger that confidence in organic food may be
damaged (paragraph 53).
14. We believe that IFOAM accreditation has
much to offer in gaining acceptance for the standards met by imports
from third countries and that the Government should support its
widespread adoption (paragraph 56).
The Government recognises that clear standards rigorously
applied are the basis of consumer confidence in organic food.
Consumers need to be assured that produce imported from third
countries meets standards equivalent to those with which EU producers
are required to comply. This is provided for in Community legislation
which obliges Member States to ensure that imports of third country
produce are produced to standards equivalent to Community standards.
A number of witnesses who appeared before the Committee
pointed to the advantages of universally accepted organic standards.
The Government understands that view. These witnesses pointed
to IFOAM standards as the basis for such a system. It should be
noted though that IFOAM is a private sector body with relatively
limited coverage in terms of the inspection bodies affiliated
to it. Equally, the standards to which it operates are not universally
15. We recommend that the Government endorse
the involvement of the certification bodies in setting standards,
with UKROFS acting as a check and balance in the system, and that
the Government provide sufficient funding to ensure the rigour
of standardsetting procedures (paragraph 56).
The Government endorses the involvement of the certification
bodies in considering how best to implement and develop organic
standards and UKROFS works on this principle. For example, UKROFS
consulted the certification bodies on the implementation of Community
standards for the production of organic livestock and livestock
products. Consideration of the most effective resourcing of this
practice will flow from the review of UKROFS currently taking
EU Livestock Standards
16. It is notable that UKROFS' assurances on
the suitability of the EU livestock rules for the UK and their
potential impact upon animal health and welfare were qualified
in both cases. This is unsatisfactory (paragraph 58).
17. We find UKROFS' arrangements for monitoring
the effect of the standards unsatisfactory and we are concerned
by the lack of resources within UKROFS to conduct the necessary
research into either animal welfare or the competitiveness impact
of the regulations. We recommend that the Government ensure that
the impact of the EU livestock regulations upon animal welfare
and upon the competitiveness of the UK industry be monitored over
the next decade with a view to recommending changes if necessary
The Government understands the Committee's concern
about the Community organic livestock regulations and their implementation
in the United Kingdom. Ministers have received similar representations.
In developing UK livestock standards UKROFS has sought to strike
a balance between the need to maintain the integrity of organic
principles on the one hand and, on the other, the importance of
ensuring good animal health and welfare and of avoiding damage
to the competitiveness of domestic producers. This is not an easy
task, and the UKROFS Board remains in discussion with the industry
about a number of aspects of the livestock standards. The Government
will formally draw the Board's attention to the Committee's comments.
Although it is primarily for the Board of UKROFS
to explain their position, the Government has the following specific
observations at this stage:
- On animal health and welfare, it is an overriding
principle of organic standards that any treatment necessary to
prevent an animal suffering should be administered, including
the use of allopathic veterinary medicines.
- The Board of UKROFS agreed last year to review
the impact of the new livestock standards within 12 months of
their introduction, that is by August 2001.
- The lack of resources within UKROFS to assess
the competitiveness and animal welfare impacts of their standards
is an issue which will need to be addressed following the UKROFS
review. This will include the issue of the extent to which such
work should be carried out inhouse, taking full account
of the availability of evidence from academic and industry sources
and of financial support by MAFF, for example through the R&D
programme and the State Veterinary Service's programme of animal
Competitiveness and Standards
18. We recommend that UKROFS be charged to
take into account the competitiveness implications of any proposed
regulations and to publish the results of its analysis before
agreeing on any changes to organic standards (paragraph 60).
The Government fully sympathises with the underlying
aim of this recommendation. Regulatory bodies should make as full
an assessment as possible of the impact of their proposals before
confirming them and should share this assessment with consultees
and the wider public. The Government will discuss with the Board
of UKROFS whether further analytical work is desirable and feasible,
though this will sensibly await the outcome of the UKROFS review.
It is worth noting that most changes to organic standards
are settled at the EU level, and thus neither the Government nor
UKROFS has absolute control over the outcome.
19. We recommend that the Government work in
the Council of Ministers to present the Commission with a deadline
by which to develop new standards for organic processing (paragraph
The Government agrees that this is an area on which
further work is needed and has made the Commission aware of its
view. However, Council Regulation 2092/91 already imposes on the
Commission a legal obligation to carry out a considerable programme
of work on other issues, which - so the Government understands
- leaves it with insufficient capacity to take on work necessary
to develop processing standards.
20. The present Chairman of UKROFS admitted
that when he took up his post he was "appalled at the level
of resourcing and the pressure which was put both on the civil
service secretariat and upon the board members of UKROFS by the
sheer size of the workload". This will have to be resolved
21. We accept that at the moment UKROFS is
not getting the support it needs from MAFF in terms of staff or
funding. Nevertheless, we believe that there is scope for a complete
reconsideration of its role. There is room for it to acquire a
higher profile, as was hinted at by the current Chairman's intervention
in the GM debate, and to perform a valuable role as the regulator
between the certification bodies and the Government, but it is
clearly not fulfilling that potential at the moment. We await
the results of the review with great interest (paragraph 65).
As the Committee notes a review of UKROFS is currently
being carried out, and this will address the concerns expressed
in the Report.
Organic Farming Scheme
22. Given that there is a programme, we believe
that the disruption in the provision of aid for organic farming
at this crucial time has been highly regrettable. The Government
should seek to ensure that the OFS is administered to provide
even funding and applications across the whole year (paragraph
The Government will seek to achieve an orderly flow
of funding for the Organic Farming Scheme over the life of the
England Rural Development Programme. Interest shown in the Organic
Farming Scheme (OFS) when it opened in April 1999 was far greater
than could have been anticipated, not least because of the general
downturn in the prospects of the agriculture sector since it was
first designed. In the event, despite the allocation of additional
resources, it proved impossible to meet applications from all
those seeking conversion aid. Indications from the 2001 OFS, which
opened on 2 January this year, are that demand has slowed and
the scheme remains open to applications.
The Private Sector and Organic Subsidies
23. The Government should discuss the design
of its subsidy regime with retailers, processors and the water
industry. It should encourage OFWAT to review whether water companies
should be obliged to offer topup payments (paragraph 70).
The Government recognises the benefits that organic
farming provides in terms of the nonuse of synthetic pesticides
and herbicides. It agrees with the Committee that others outside
the farming industry, including retailers, processors and the
water industry, have valid interests and valuable experience in
encouraging organic farming. It will therefore ensure that the
design of the financial assistance regime is discussed with all
stakeholders involved in the next review of conversion aid to
be undertaken for the mid term evaluation of the England Rural
Development Programme, as was the case in the 1999 Review.
Diffuse sources of pollution, including that from
the inappropriate use, misuse or runoff from agricultural
pesticides and fertilisers, can increase the cost of purifying
drinking water. The regulatory regime provides an incentive for
water companies to adopt the most costeffective way of delivering
clean water to their customers. In some cases, there will be scope
for innovative approaches to cutting treatment costs by reducing
diffuse pollution. This could include supporting farmers who wish
to go organic, and the Government very much welcomes the efforts
of those water companies who have chosen to do this.
Objectives of Government Assistance for Organic
24. Before determining how best to offer financial
assistance to organic producers, it is essential that the Government
be clear as to the rationale for doing so and the objectives it
wishes to achieve through this expenditure. These objectives must
be tightly defined and made public (paragraph 71).
25. We believe that the benefits to be secured
by organic farming need to be far more closely defined so that
the Government can set measurable and achievable objectives for
its financial assistance to organic farming (paragraph 75).
The Government welcomes the Committee's insistence
that the benefits that can accrue through organic farming should
be clearly defined. As the Report notes, there is a range of potential
benefits, but not all of these either require or are suitable
for public funding. Where public funding is currently provided,
that is for the environmental benefits secured by organic farming,
the rationale for such support is set out in the England Rural
Development Programme. The Programme includes quantified plans
for the amount of land to be converted and details of the expenditure
deployed to achieve these goals. The Committee's recommendation
is of course highly relevant to the current debate about the future
direction of organic farming referred to in the introduction to
The 2003 Review
26. We recommend that in advance of the review
the Government commission research into the cost of conversion
in different sectors in order that its consideration of differential
payments be properly informed (paragraph 76).
27. The targeting of aid at sectors which are
lagging behind the general trend towards organic conversion should
be included in the options for consideration, if the current trend
continues (paragraph 76).
Uptake of conversion aid should be governed by producers'
business judgements. Previous reviews of aid for organic conversion
have acknowledged the need for higher rates of support for horticulture.
Given the general underdevelopment across the entire sector,
it was decided to target support at the largest possible number
of potential farmers with the aim of maximising environmental
benefits. The rates of payment offered under the Organic Farming
Scheme reflect real costs of a wide range of farm types and are
reviewed from time to time. The Government will reconsider the
levels of support in the mid term evaluation of the England Rural
Development Programme. Meanwhile the Committee's recommendation
will be taken into account in the forthcoming review of the MAFFfunded
organic R&D programme.
28. We recommend that applicants to any organic
subsidy scheme be required to produce a business plan which is
accompanied by a statement as to its validity from a qualified
adviser, such as a bank, accountant, consultancy or agricultural
organisation (paragraph 78).
As the Committee has acknowledged, the question of
each application to the Organic Farming Scheme being accompanied
by a business plan was considered and rejected in the recent Scheme
Review. The concept will be considered again in the midterm
evaluation of the England Rural Development Programme.
29. We recommend that, whatever scheme is devised,
it be flexible, locallyrun and as un-bureaucratic as possible
We note the Committee's comments.
30. We recommend that the Government devise
proposals for an organic stewardship scheme as the centrepiece
of its review of organic farming support in 2003, taking into
account the need for clearly defined goals and for flexibility,
simplicity and predictability. These proposals should be accompanied
by a statement of objectives and plans for the achievement of
those objectives, including the resources to be allocated to their
achievement (paragraph 78).
The Government will consider whether a scheme such
as that recommended by the Committee might be developed. Any proposals
will need to be drawn up in consultation with stakeholders.
Research and Development
31. We believe that the Government should consider
increasing its budget for organic research and development to
take account of its expectations for the market and in line with
the need for further research into the areas we outline below
MAFF has recently established a new Science Committee
which is charged with determining priorities and the allocation
of available science and R&D funds. The Science Committee
will give serious consideration to the Committee's recommendation,
though resources will always be a constraint.
32. We believe that there are three reasons
why research into the claims made for organic farming is essential
and should be carried out by a reliable source, independent of
either the conventional or the organic sector. First, it is important
that Government policy be based on hard fact, rather than supposition.
Second, it would assist the organic sector if it were known that
there was a scientific basis for the demands they were making
of their producers in setting standards and the promises they
were offering to consumers. Third, such research should also isolate
the elements within organic production protocols which lead to
the desired benefits, with the result that these techniques may
be applied more effectively both on conventional and organic farms
The Government agrees that it is necessary for policy
to be soundly based on evidence. Considerable work has been carried
out to compare different farming systems, and the Government encourages
further such studies. Research on organic techniques is already
included in the MAFF R&D programme.
33. We recommend that MAFF commission additional
research into the environmental implications, technical issues,
animal welfare and verification of claims made in connection with
organic farming on public policy issues such as food safety to
supplement its existing programme (paragraph 84).
MAFF has an existing programme of research on organic
farming which includes work on environmental implications, technical
issues, and on animal welfare. It is expected that continuing
and further research will be funded in those areas. Some of the
information from this research will relate to public policy issues.
The Food Standards Agency has produced a position paper on the
food safety and nutrition aspects of organic food. The paper indicated
the need for further work in some areas, which is being taken
forward within the Agency's current research and surveillance
34. We stress the benefits of treating organic
and conventional production as part of the same spectrum, with
the outcome of research in one sector being applied to the other
The Government strongly supports this view. A large
part of MAFF's research programme is relevant to organic farming,
including research on biological control, pest and disease forecasting,
animal health and welfare, farm waste management, plant nutrition
and conservation. A number of projects are funded specifically
to translate results from conventional research into the organic
context. Conversely, as more experience is gained about organic
systems, it should be possible to translate that information into
a form that is applicable in conventional agriculture. An early
example of this may be improvements in planning crop rotations.
Advice and Training
35. We recommend that MAFF review the provision
of advice to the organic sector in the light of its commitment
to organic farming, to ensure that the advice available is adequate
and meets the needs of producers in conversion and post conversion
and others involved in the sector (paragraph 87).
The Government is considering the conclusions of
an independent review of free advice, including the advice to
farmers available from the Organic Conversion Information Service,
and will take the Committee's recommendation into account in that
36. We recommend that the Minister actively
encourage the development of organic training schemes within the
English Rural Development Programme and promote the development
of training schemes in the UK (paragraph 88).
Funding for training is available under the Vocational
Training Scheme (VTS) which forms part of the ERDP. The VTS meets
up to 75% of eligible costs in relation to training for farmers
and foresters. Training should contribute to an improvement in
the occupational skill and competence of farmers and others involved
in farming and forestry activities and their conversion. The scheme
will fund training under 10 broad categories which cover most
activities of interest to farmers. Organic farmers or those wishing
to go organic are eligible to apply for funding and should be
encouraged to do so.
Government Targets and Strategy
37. We accept Mr Morley's point that the inclusion
of organic farming within the ERDP gives some flexibility to respond
to developments in the sector as far as the budget is concerned.
We are not in favour of a dirigiste approach to agriculture in
the UK. Agriculture must respond to the marketplace and
farmers need to adopt clear plans that will allow it to do so.
This is particularly true of the organic sector. However, we believe
that the Government has a role in analysing the organic supply
chain for bottlenecks and imbalances and devising policy tools
to help remedy these (paragraph 91).
The Government agrees with the Committee's overall
perspective. The option of drawing up a national action plan,
in which Ministers have expressed clear interest, offers a vehicle
for the sort of analysis proposed by the Committee. In addition,
MAFF will shortly be commissioning an independent evaluation of
the Organic Farming Scheme. In addition to considering the rationale
and objectives of the scheme,this will provide evidence of its
efficiency and effectiveness and identify areas where further
policy changes may be desirable to meet the objectives.
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food