§ 22. Mr. Clappison
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what schemes are now in place to encourage organic farming methods. 
§ Mr. Waldegrave
The Government are keen to assist the development of organic farming. The organic aid scheme for England was launched in August last year and provides financial assistance during conversion to organic production. Similar schemes are available in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In addition, the organic sector also benefits from a substantial programme of research and development and from our support for the work of the independent UK Register of Organic Food Standards. My Department currently spends around £1 million annually on R and D into economic and practical aspects of organic farming.