Niall FitzGerald, chairman of Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever, will warn today that the approximately 20% premium that farmers charge for organic produce is unsustainable.

Speaking at the annual City Food lecture in the Guildhall in London, FitzGerald is expected to welcome the government’s support for organic farming before urging that the limitations to the sector’s expansion must be recognised.

He will urge industry and government to consider the benefits of “sustainable farming” which is seen to represent a third way between intensive farming and the arguably unrealistic ideals of organic agriculture.

FitzGerald will also urge a renewal of the debate in the UK about the pros and cons of genetically modified production and food, reports the Financial Times.