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Fonterra Moving Into Organics

Tuesday 2 July, 2002

Fonterra will be marketing organic dairy products by September.

NZMP, Fonterra’s manufacturing and ingredients marketing division will initially centre its activities in the Waikato, drawing milk from farms in that region and in the Bay of Plenty, where most of New Zealand’s organically certified farms are located.

NZMP Organics Category Manager Rick Carmont says the decision to make the move into the organics market came after extensive market evaluation and research.

“There were those who believed the industry moved too slowly. But converting a farm to organic production takes around three years. We needed to be sure the market – and the premiums – would be there for the longer term.

“In Europe, for instance there is an over-supply of organic milk which has proved costly for producers. We were not prepared to take risk with farmers’ future incomes,” Mr Carmont says.

Mr Carmont says 48 farms with the ability to meet organic standards within the next year or two have been identified. About two thirds of these are already certified.

Three certifying authorities – BIO-GRO, Demeter And CERTNZ have been working with NZMP to get organic dairy production off the ground.

Mr Carmont says NZMP will concentrate initially on meeting demand in the New Zealand and Australian markets.

“We are planning to manufacture organic cheddar cheese at NZMP’s Hautapu plant near Cambridge to supply the New Zealand market. It is intended that the product range and market spread will be widened progressively,” Mr Carmont said.

END

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