Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food
On the 8 July, the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, provided an update on the Rural Development Programme in which she outlined that while negotiating the Rural Development Programme with the European Commission, we continue to work on the implementation arrangements.
To this effect, I am pleased to announce today that the first support package under the new Rural Development Programme for Wales, Glastir Organic, will be available to apply for from 1 October for contracts starting on 1 January 2015.
The Welsh Government has been leading the way in supporting the organic sector in the UK. We were the first to offer an extension to bridge support from the previous Rural Development Plan and we are now the first to commit to providing support in 2015.
Glastir Organic will provide organic farmers and producers with financial support in recognition of the environmental service they provide to Wales. Organic farming systems work with nature to maintain soil fertility and to manage pests and diseases. This protects our rivers, wildlife and pollinators. Support will be made available both to existing organic producers to carry on farming organically and to those converting land from conventional farming practices to organic.
Existing Organic Farming Conversion Scheme agreements will be terminated on 31 December 2014 in order to allow application to Glastir Organic for contracts starting on 1 January 2015, which will provide more favorable payment rates reflecting the recent increases in costs associated with organic production.
Glastir Organic will open for on-line applications on 1 October and will close on 29 October 2014 for a contract starting on 1 January 2015.
The new scheme demonstrates the commitment of this Welsh Government to organic farmers and producers.