Countryside Stewardship support payments for organic horticulture land management have been increased by 24%, to £471 per ha, while payments for horticultural land under organic conversion are up 17%, to £703 per ha.
Growers can apply for these organic conversion or maintenance payments via the scheme’s mid-tier options, which will be open for applications until August 18, 2023.
The Soil Association welcomed the improved support for organic production, with rate increases averaging 25% across farming sectors – more than double the 10% average increase in payments for the Countryside Stewardship scheme as a whole.
“We are pleased to see this renewed commitment to rewarding organic farming,” said Soil Association organic sector adviser Adrian Steele. “This should give farmers and growers confidence in switching to or maintaining organic practices, despite the short-term uncertainty facing every farm.”
The Soil Association’s latest annual market report, covering 2022 and published in March, shows the market share of organic fresh produce at 21%, representing a drop of almost 10% compared with 2021. While home delivery schemes maintained their market share after the steep growth during the pandemic, more than half of box scheme operators think sales will fall this year.