23 Feb 2012

Claim that NZ missing out on "organic food bandwagon"

6:10 am on 23 February 2012

The national organics body is warning that New Zealand's missing out on what it calls the global bandwagon of organic food production.

Organics Aotearoa chairman Derek Broadmore says the United States and European Union have agreed to formally recognise each others certified organic products, allowing easier trade between them.

Mr Broadmore says he expects to see more of those agreements as demand for organic produce continues to out-strip supply.

He says this country seems to be headed in the opposite direction, after the Government cut funding to the organic sector two years ago.

He's calling for that funding to be re-established and the Government needs to recognise that organic production is highly desirable, both for trade and environmental reasons.

Mr Broadmore says Government resources are needed to encourage people to convert to organics because there's a reluctance to convert given that there are risks involved and it's a three year conversion process.

He says it's very difficult for an individual farmer to make the commitment to transfer to an organic production system without some sort of safety net.

Last year, Fonterra announced it would halve the number of North Island farmers who supply it with organically produced milk, citing a slump in export sales due to the global financial crisis.