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09.03.06
Growing market for organic vegetable crops

Consumer demand for organic food has created a huge opportunity for horticultural growers in Cornwall, says Organic South West, who are holding a special seminar entitled 'Growing for the market' on Wednesday 22 March at Duchy College, Rosewarne.

"There is a definite shortage of UK grown organic horticultural produce," says Martin Davies, technical adviser for Organic South West. "Consumers are crying out for fresh, locally grown vegetables and Cornish producers are in an ideal position to meet that demand."

Technical experts Roger Hitchings from Elm Farm Research Centre and Iain Tolhurst, an organic grower with many years experience, will be among those presenting at the seminar at Duchy College.

Organic South West, which promotes organic food and farming across the region, say that initial findings from recently commissioned market research indicate high levels of awareness amongst retailers and wholesalers regarding organic food sales in Cornwall. Consumers appear willing to pay a premium for top quality organic produce, possibly up to 20% above conventional prices reports the Soil Association's market intelligence officer James Cleeton who, together with Martin Davies will illustrate the Cornish situation with regard to future organic opportunities.

The full results of the research, commissioned from ADAS, will be presented at a second seminar on 'The economic viability of organic farming' to be held on 29 March at Kingsley Village, Fraddon. Designed to assist farmers considering conversion to organic farming, this seminar looks at case studies for actual beef and sheep enterprises and dairy farming within Cornwall.

"Getting the cash flow right is essential for any business," concludes Martin Davies. "Making the critical decision to 'go organic' adds up for a number of reasons, with growing consumer demand and higher stewardship payments for the environmental benefits delivered by organic farming. If you really want the facts and figures, then this seminar is a must – and it's free!"

Both seminars run from 10am – 2pm and places are restricted but free. To reserve a place contact Organic South West on 01208 78988.

For further information please contact Emma Parkin, PR and Media on 01392 490009 or email: em.parkin@blueyonder.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Organic South West through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

Anyone considering a new horticulture, food and land based industries project is advised to speak with Martin Butler, at Government Office South West on 01752 635015, before commencing development as there are now only limited funds available due to the successful uptake of funding by the agricultural sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Editor's notes:

Organic South West is a Soil Association project, part funded by the EAGGF and Defra through the Objective One Programme, to help grow the organic market in Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly. They provide technical, business and market support across the supply chain to businesses that produce, process and retail organic produce. They also operate an Objective One business grant scheme of up to 50% funding for organic businesses that wish to develop their business.

For more information see: www.organicsouthwest.org

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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