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'Sustainable Future' Shows Need For Organics

'Sustainable Future' Shows Need For Organics


Press Release
For Immediate Release, Wednesday 16 April 2008

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) has welcomed today's release of Sustainable Future's report into implementation of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification's recommendations, and warns that New Zealand is at risk of irreparable genetic contamination.

"Sustainable Future highlights the risks of embracing genetic modification, reminding us that sustainable organic production remains the best path forward", said Dr Jon Tanner, OANZ Chief Executive Officer.

"The controls being placed on GM material are clearly not well enforced, ignored or simply insufficient - with Sustainable Future noting 113 instances of unauthorized GM work without proper approval, and ERMA recognizing nine breaches of regulatory requirements in 2007 alone.

"Despite this, Sustainable Future highlights how critical work on co-existence - designed to protect non-GM crops from nearby GM species - has not been done.

"New Zealand is at a crossroads between remaining a producer of low-value, volume agricultural products, and embracing high-value international niche markets.

"The Primary Industries 2020 Summit gave a clear message that New Zealand should aim for high-quality, high-value premium-priced products - where certified organic production is internationally recognised as leading the way.

"World markets are demanding food and fibre which is safe, sustainable and naturally produced. Certified organic products are the fastest-growing segment of the international food and beverage market, and deliver premium prices to farmers.

"Genetic modification is incompatible with certified organic systems, and ERMA's poor track record on enforcing the rules increases the risk of escaping GM material contaminating organic crops. The fact is that the risks of allowing GM outweigh any short term benefits.

"Sustainable Future recognizes that research into organic agriculture has received some funding increase following the Royal Commission's recommendation. However, modern certified organic production is knowledge-intensive, and OANZ will continue to seek improved recognition of this through the New Zealand Fast Forward research fund.

"New Zealand could gain huge economic and environmental benefits from embracing certified organic production. This truly economic and environmentally sustainable model would provide the best way forward for Kiwi farmers and growers," Dr Tanner said.

ENDS

The Sustainable Future report can be downloaded from http://www.sustainablefuture.info/

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