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New Report Shows Farmers Swinging Behind Organics

Green Party MP and organic farmer Ian Ewen-Street today welcomed a new report which shows that nearly 40 per cent of New Zealand farmers intend to be farming organically in five to 10 years time.

The report 'Environmental Beliefs and Farm Practices of New Zealand Organic, Conventional and GE Intending Farmers' was published by the Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit of Lincoln University and released today.

The report shows that currently 10 per cent of farmers describe themselves as organic, 73 per cent as conventional and 17 per cent as intending to pursue genetic engineering.

In five to 10 years time the figures show that the number of farmers wishing to farm organically will jump 27 per cent to 37 per cent, the number who intend to continue conventional farming will drop to 46 per cent and the number wishing to use genetic engineering will stay static at 17 per cent.

"I welcome this report because it shows what I have been saying for some time - that more and more farmers are realising the huge opportunity of organics and are looking to switch," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"It also shows that apart from a small and static group, farmers are rejecting genetic engineering and that those who intend to use it are typically dairy farmers and those with the highest farm incomes."

Mr Ewen-Street said the report was significant as it painted a clear picture of how farmers were viewing their future, and added to earlier AFFCO research which showed that 70 per cent of farmers believe the future of farming lies with organics.

"More than ever farmers are realising the huge market advantages of organic production and our clean, green, GE-free image," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"It is crucial that we protect this advantage and our outstanding international reputation."

Mr Ewen-Street said it was disappointing that despite clear trends among farmers towards organics and away from genetic engineering, the likes of Federated Farmers appeared to be more interested in representing the views of a minority who wished to pursue genetic engineering.

"Like the people of New Zealand, farmers know that they cannot have it both ways. We cannot have genetically engineered and organic agriculture co-exisiting. We cannot have genetic engineering and keep our clean, green, natural image."

Ends


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