The Green Party of Scotland has published its plan to have at least 20% of Scotland’s farmland used for organic farming within ten years.

Robin Harper, Green MSP, said that the Scottish Executive had so far appeared to give no encouragement or help for Scottish farmers to convert to organics, despite the increasing demand for organic produce, 70% of which currently has to be imported.

He also said that his Organic Farming Targets (Scotland) Bill has the backing of MSPs from all political parties and from organisations such as supermarkets, unions, environmental groups and farmers.

The Bill would include three different types of farming, including arable farming. Only 7% of farmed land in Scotland is either organic or undergoing conversion to organic, and upland grazing for organic beef and lamb accounts for most of that land.

Harper believes that the good reputation of Scottish produce, combined with the Organic label would be highly successful, and represented an opportunity not to be missed.

It is thought that many will support the proposal because of the benefits to health and to the environment that organic farming is claimed to have.

The Bill is likely to be debated in the Scottish parliament by March 2003, reported the Scotsman.