EXCLUSIVE Simon Mowbray Scotland is to get a new label to flag up home-grown organic produce, The Grocer has learned. In what may be interpreted as a challenge to the Soil Association, several hundred farmers and producers have joined forces to create their own mark. Organic Scotland' has the backing of the Scottish Organic Producers Association and could start appearing on supermarket shelves before the end of the year if adopted by retailers. Scottish producers say they want to hurry the mark in, arguing that consumers often buy foreign produce in the mistaken belief it is home-grown just because it carries one of the home nation's organic accreditation marks. Scheme organiser John Watson, managing director of East Lothian-based John Watson Seeds and a board member of SOPA, said the project was being supported by a £120,000 launch grant from Scottish Enterprise and had the backing of more than 600 farmers. "The Soil Association visits countries as far away as Argentina to certify organic beef and this confuses consumers," he said. "We don't care who accredits us but we want consumers to be left in no doubt that they are buying good Scottish organic produce. We will start talking to retailers in the near future." Soil Association director Patrick Holden said the breakaway scheme was "unhelpful" to the cause of uniting Britain's organic producers under one banner. "I do not think it is helpful for us to be competing with each other in this way," he said. "We want to develop a mark which flags up country or origin but is complementary to our own one and inclusive rather than exclusive." {{NEWS }}