The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the announcement that support payments will be made available to all fully certified organic producers in Wales this year, providing much-needed certainty for the sector.

Speaking in response to the announcement from rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths, FUW president Ian Rickman said: “This is welcome news for the Welsh organic sector following the end of the Glastir Organic Scheme and especially for those who continue to face inflationary pressures.

“This support, which will be administered through the SAF process, should enable organic producers to maintain their certified status for this year as we consult with our members on the final details of the Sustainable Farming Scheme and how long-term support for organics will be included.”

The support scheme will be open to all who maintain full organic certification throughout 2024, and while there is a taper on the maximum payment, there is no upper limit on the area of land that can be submitted.

Horticultural land will receive £300 per hectare (previously £400/ha), Enclosed land will receive £45 per hectare (previously £65/ha) and land above the upper limit of enclosure will receive £9 per hectare (previously £15/ha). Enclosed land with a dairy enterprise will receive £115 per hectare.

“Whilst the payment rates for this year are around 30 per cent lower than those received under the Glastir Organic Scheme on average, and there are no payments to cover certification costs, dairy organic producers will receive a higher rate than what they would have done previously to reflect increased input costs,” added Mr Rickman.

“In light of the recently published Welsh Government draft budget, this will certainly be welcomed by the sector as the majority rely on such support to produce food using organic practices as the premiums they receive for their products very rarely reflect the additional challenges and costs associated with farming in this way.”

Ms Griffiths said: “I appreciate the immense effort it has taken for organic farmers to build businesses which are both financially and environmentally sustainable.

“On such farms, the sustainable land management practices employed will undoubtedly have benefitted the local ecology, often in areas vulnerable to biodiversity loss.

“I also understand, in many circumstances, the viability of organic holdings is dependent on receiving a premium for the organic produce, which is not always available.”

The Organic Support Payment will provide support to fully certified organic farmers during the transition to the Sustainable Farming Scheme.

Applications for the payment will be made through the Single Application Form, due for submission by 15 May.

“The payment will be available to all fully certified organic applicants, not only those who were part of the previous Glastir Organic Scheme,” Ms Griffiths added.

“I remain committed to our sustainable land management objectives and this payment demonstrates our support for farms undertaking actions to fulfil these objectives.”