Seven of the country’s top supermarket chains – who between them control more than a third of the UK’s grocery retail share – are supporting a campaign for a massive increase in organic farming. 

But the UK’s largest retailer, Tesco, which recently committed itself to £1bn worth of organic sales by 2005, has so far failed to give its support. 

The Organic Targets Campaign is calling on Tesco to show its commitment to UK farmers by backing the campaign before a major London rally on 23 January.

The Organic Targets Campaign, contacted UK supermarkets, asking them to back its call for 30% of UK agricultural land to be organic by 2010. Despite a boom in organic sales in this country, around 70% of organic food is imported from abroad. Currently about 3% of UK agricultural land is under organic production. ASDA, Booths, Co-op, Iceland, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have so far responded positively.  If the campaign succeeds supermarkets could source more British organic food.  Safeway has also failed to give its backing.

On Wednesday 23 January, hundreds of people from across the country are coming to Westminster to attend the Organic Targets Rally and to lobby their MPs for government action to support organic farming. The campaign is already supported by 144 MPs.

Catherine Fookes, co-ordinator of the Organic Targets Campaign said: “We are delighted that so many supermarkets are backing the call for a massive increase in Britain’s organic farming. 

“But we are extremely disappointed that Tesco, the UK’s biggest food retailer, has so far failed to give its support, particularly as it has committed itself to an enormous increase in organic sales. Almost three quarters of organic food comes from abroad.  Increasing the amount of British agricultural land under organic production will benefit British farmers and reduce the levels of pesticide sprayed in our countryside.”