A new report from the Soil Association, ‘The Lazy Man of Europe’, asks the government to wake up to what Europe can teach the UK about backing organic food and farming.UK organic bread and biscuit sales had dropped by almost 40% last April, according to the Soil Association, but they are now on the rise again, The global production of organic food is set to grow substantially, it says, with the organic market frequently cited as one of the most significant growth markets in the food industry.In Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and Switzerland, sales of organic food continued to grow in 2009, despite the recession. In the UK, although sales fell, they are now recovering. The passive role of successive UK governments in supporting organic food and farming is one of the reasons given.A statement from the Soil Association said: “We have found that most European countries have acted confidently to champion organic food and farming as a pioneering, sustainable and environmentally friendly way to produce food. In contrast, UK governments have been diffident, if not lazy, on the subject. The new Coalition Government has taken some positive steps, such as cancelling the last Government’s publicly-funded, pro-GM propaganda consultation, to have been carried out by the Food Standards Agency. The new Agriculture Minister, Jim Paice, has said recently that organic principles lead the way on sustainable farming, and that organic farming should be fostered for this reason.The report shows that other leading European governments are doing far more than the UK to advance organic food and farming. Most of these initiatives involve shifts in policies and priorities, not new funding. It says that the UK Government should endorse the Food for Life Catering Mark, and ensure that public food procurement standards meet at least the Food for Life silver standard, which guarantees the use of seasonal, freshly prepared produce and some use of organic food.
AS LOCAL cyclists prepare for the staging of the Guyana Cycle Federation’s (GCF) third points-race for the 2017 season, Team Coco’s Jamal John is highly favoured to win tomorrow’s event, which gets underway from 08:30hrs outside the Ocean View International Hotel, East Coast Demerara.John won the two previous points-races and stands at the top of the points table with 30 points and will be seeking to add an additional 15 points to his tally by winning tomorrow’s event, which will see the cyclists travel up the East Coast of Demerara to Abary Bridge and back to finish at the place of origin.Close on John’s wheel in the points standing, with 20 points from two third-place finishes in the previous two races is Andrew Hicks. However, Hicks will not be a part of tomorrow’s event, since he is currently in the United States on training.Following Hicks is Raphael Leung, with 13 points, Paul DeNobrega (12) and Briton John (12).Hamza Eastman is next with 10 points, but like Hicks, he too is training in the United States.Leer Nunes and Junior Niles also have 10 points and they are followed by Ian Jackson (4), Dwayne Gibbs Jr (4), Jason Cameron (3), Eric Sankar (2), Ralph Williams (1) and Everal Murphy (1).The GCF is using the points system for selecting its national team for Regional and International competitions, despite the selectees not being reigning champions and in some cases, even being runners-up in national championships, resulting in Guyana being poorly represented at the recently concluded Pan American Road Race Championship that was held in the Dominican Republic.Apart from the poor decision of using the points system to select teams, the GFC executives selected Joseph Britton and its president Horace Burrowes to accompany the team and this proved to be a disaster for team members, as they were not adequately tended to during the gruelling 140k road race, which saw Hicks, although in the leading bunch and nearing the finish, suffered cramps. Contestants hailed from some of Pan American’s leading cycling countries including Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Argentina, United States, Canada and Brazil among others.