Organic farmers 'can't meet soaring demand'

A A A

Farmers in Britain cannot keep up with demand for organic food, MPs were told yesterday. In many cases, they can produce only small quantities, which in turn cost more to transport to the fewplants certified to process chemical-free food.

Farmers in Britain cannot keep up with demand for organic food, MPs were told yesterday. In many cases, they can produce only small quantities, which in turn cost more to transport to the fewplants certified to process chemical-free food.

Representatives of the supermarket chains Sainsbury and Iceland told the Commons Select Committee on Agriculture that they have to import organic food to overcome the shortage of home-grown produce.

Scares about bovine spongiform encephalopathy, genetically modified crops and E. coli bacteria in food have sparked a huge demand for organic produce in recent years.

Bill Wadsworth, technical director of Iceland Frozen Foods, told the committee: "The British farming community has reacted very slowly to this market, whereas other countries are modernising their farms to produce organic food."

Only 3 per cent of British farmland is organic - yet the market is forecast to grow by 40 per cent a year for the next five years, and is expected to be worth in excess of £500m by the end of this year. According to figures supplied by Iceland, 70 per cent of all organic food sold in British supermarkets already comes from overseas.

Mr Wadsworth said the company believed money could be targeted at farmers to allow them to convert from conventional farming to pesticide- and chemical-free farming.

Sainsbury said it would like to offer customers more British organic products but, like Iceland, was unable to do so because of limited supplies.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MBDA UK Ltd: Mission Planning and Control Solutions Systems Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? A pro-act...

MBDA UK Ltd: System Design Capability

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? The small...

Recruitment Genius: Time Served Fabricator / Welders - Immediate Start

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fabricator welder required for ...

Recruitment Genius: Inbound Customer Service Advisors

£14564 - £15311 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound Customer Service Adviso...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific