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Friday, 20 July, 2001, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Charles backs future of organic farming
organic farming
Organic producers could play a bigger role in agriculture
The Prince of Wales has endorsed organic farming as the way forward for the troubled agriculture industry.

Prince Charles praised the "ground-breaking" work of the Organic Farming Centre in Aberystwyth, mid Wales, and called for more support for organic producers.

Prince Charles
Prince Charles: Supportive of organic farming
His visit will be seen as a lift for the hard-hit rural economy in Wales and the rest of the UK, which are attempting to recover from the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Prince Charles also spoke up against GM crops, in the wake of six protesters being arrested for damaging Wales's only trial site.

The Organic Farming Centre - based at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth - is at the forefront of promoting organic farming and offering farmers advice on the marketing of their products.


I believe ... Wales is leading the way for a GM free area

Prince Charles
During his tour of the centre , Prince Charles said: "Since you opened I have been wanting to see for myself the ground-breaking work that is done here.

"The work has always been important but I think it has become more important more recently with the horrors to farming foot-and-mouth has, and still is, doing.

He added: "With the growth of organic farming increasing at 40% each year I think it will play an important part in terms of the future of agriculture."

Uncontaminated

Charles added he would like to see the UK become a GM-free zone and said it was not fair to blame the current crisis in agriculture on farmers.

"I believe ... Wales is leading the way for a GM free area. I believe that people will be desperate for sources of uncontaminated food.

"When that time comes where will they be able to get it from? It is sensible if we remain GM free."

His annual summer tour of Wales has had to be altered this year because of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Earlier, during the visit to the mid-Wales town, the Prince toured the Aberystwyth farmers' market where he met stall holders, those hit by the recent crisis and local Samaritans working with the rural community.

Recognition

Charles was told that since the foot-and-mouth crisis, the number of calls to the Samaritans in the Aberystwyth area has increased 20%.

Director Laraine Wood said: "The Prince is very aware of the problems farmers have been through in recent months. It is good to receive that recognition."

Later, the Prince toured Llangloffan Farmhouse Cheese Centre near Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, where he saw Wales' longest established farmhouse cheese-making enterprise.

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See also:

15 Jul 01 | Wales
GM crop protesters bailed
27 Jun 01 | Business
Cuba's organic revolution
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