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Dairy Board To Muscle In On Organic Profits?

The Dairy Board’s endorsement of organic farming could be a two-edged sword, said ACT MP and farmer, Penny Webster.

The Dairy Board has announced that it will encourage some of its supplying farmers to switch to organic methods. It is believed that at least 260 organic farms would be needed at peak times.

“Organic farmers have gone out on a limb, found a market and used considerable effort developing it.

“Most of the farmers involved have taken the initiative on their own. They have stuck their necks out and found a niche market. These are the types of New Zealanders we need. What we don’t need, is to see this fledgling industry dumped on by a monopoly player.

“The fact that the Dairy Board is the sole allocator of export licences raises very important questions. Will their monopoly power be abused to bring people into line? How will payments be made to farmers? Will the present “co-operative” system be flexible enough to meet the needs of this unique market?

“Organic farmers should be worried about this sudden turn around just as overseas markets become lucrative,” said Penny Webster.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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