A lack of governance had jeopardised the sustainability of British food supply by tying it to unsustainable, non-organic methods, Yeo Valley managing director Tim Mead told The Grocer in an exclusive interview.
Government had spent taxpayers' money on sustainability projects to increase the use of renewable energy or reduce waste, for instance, but it had failed to support the organic industry, said Mead.
"The responsibility lies with government and it has been absent for the past 30 years," he said.
He called for more funds to be spent on promoting and supporting organic farming systems, arguing that organic farming was more sustainable than conventional systems because it relied on grass and sun instead of the oil and agro-chemicals associated with non-organic production.
The Soil Association added that the government had a responsibility to champion "appropriate and sustainable" farming systems such as organic. "Our government does seem to be ignoring a lot of the signs at international level and from the public that what we need is a more sustainable approach to farming," said head of policy Emma Hockridge.
More money needed to be spent on agro-ecological approaches to agriculture, such as organics, she said, pointing out that Defra had spent more than £20m on research into genetically modified crops since 2001.
Defra provided financial support to the industry through the organic entry level scheme, said a Defra spokeswoman.
Yeo Valley has a 66% share of organic yoghurt [Omsco organic milk market report 2010/Nielsen Homescan June 2010].
Sales of organic dairy through the multiples were worth £447.7m in 2009 [Soil Association Organic Market Report 2010].