Impact Assessment

The economic impact of a ban on imports of air freighted organic products to the UK, Gibbon and Bolwig / DIIS, 2007

    Air freighted organic imports into the UK in 2006 accounted for only about 1.9% of all organic fresh produce imports by volume, although for the categories of product subject to air freighting they constituted 4.1% by volume. Their share of retail sales was considerably greater. in terms of value, air freighted imports represented 3.1% of all organic fresh fruit sales, 13.4% of all organic fresh vegetable sales and 8.1% of the entire organic fresh produce category.

    Low income and lower middle income countries account for the great majority (79%) of all air freighted organic imports to the UK in 2006. Amongst low income countries, dependence on air freight as a means of fresh produce transport is very high.

    This study therefore considers whether such a ban is indeed workable - and if so, what the likely impacts are on trade globally, and on exporting countries in particular.

    Summary of results
    If a ban is introduced and somehow proves workable, virtually all the produce currently transported by air will be removed from the UK market. This corresponds to an annual loss in retail sales of around GBP 42.6m. In addition to this static impact on sales, there will be a series of so-called dynamic impacts which will increase losses further. The two most easily measurable of these will add around another GBP 4.9 m to these losses. Others, longer-term and more difficult to measure, may be at least as damaging.

    Country case studies of Kenya and Ghana demonstrate that the indirect impacts in exporting countries of a ban will almost certainly also include a decline in living standards, elimination of opportunities to attend fee-paying schools, firing of employees and destabilisation of local communities.

    For more detail, please refer to the report, downloadable from the link on the right hand side, or the DIIS website (see above).