20 Apr 2010

Organics organisation awaits funding decision

1:45 pm on 20 April 2010

The national organics body Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) is facing an uncertain financial future as it waits to hear whether it will get further Government funding beyond next year.

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand received Government support when it was formed three years ago and has had a little over $1 million in that time.

The Governent also provided about $2 million over three years towards an advisory service to help growers and farmers converting to organic procuction.

That funding has now finished and support for OANZ is due to end in June next year, as well.

Chief executive Jon Tanner says it's not clear at this stage whether any of that Government support will be continued.

He says the organisation hopes to be self-funding in a few years, but needs Government support at present.

Soil and Health Association spokesperson Steffan Browning says it would be unfortunate if Government funding dried up at a time when a report from accountancy firm KPMG has identified the clean green approach as a way for New Zealand agriculture to stay ahead of competitors.

He says it highlights a contrast between the amount of public funding going into organics and into genetically modified animal research.

New Zealand's organic production is now worth almost half a billion dollars a year, while export earnings have increased by 40% in the past two years to $170 million.