A downward spiral of prices for British organic food has left the UK's largest certification body, The Soil Association, looking at ways to bolt on a Fairtrade option to its standards.
Speaking at the Soil Association's annual conference, its president Jonathan Dimbleby said the price of organics had fallen so much over the past year it was "barely, if at all" high enough to cover production costs.
Many Soil Association farmers are now in "the same desperate plight" as their non-organic counterparts due to existing trading practices, he said.
The Soil Association has linked with the Fairtrade Foundation to pilot a system where UK organic farmers can register.
The one-year trial is planned to cover UK produced potatoes, beef, bacon, lamb, pork, milk and dairy products, with the Soil Association and Fairtrade logos appearing side by side. Fairtrade Foundation director Harriet Lamb said: "We want to look at margins through the food chain without shifting organic standards."
Both parties will retain their separate systems, but are also preparing to set up a joint simplified accreditation process.
In developing countries these include a set price for produce, and a demand that workers are democratically organised.
Fairtrade also looks for three-year trading relationships.
The two bodies have no immediate plans for a reduced joint premium.
Currently the SA takes a 0.3% cut from members, and Fairtrade takes 2%. Instead, funds are likely to be ploughed into promotion.

{{NEWS }}