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Organic Expo Never More Timely - Greens

Green MP and organic farmer Ian Ewen-Street said an organic expo at parliament tomorrow was an opportunity for all MPs to sample the world's cleanest, greenest and most desirable food and wine.

Mr Ewen-Street is hosting the expo which involves free tastings of a range of organic products, presentations from some of New Zealand's most successful organic businesses, a response from Government representatives and the first ever organic dinner catered by Bellamys. (programme attached.)

"At a time when the world cannot get enough of our clean, green, safe organic food this is a wonderful opportunity for MPs from across the political spectrum to see what organic production is all about," said Mr Ewen-Street.

At least 22 MPs have confirmed they will attend the organic dinner along with around 75 guests and industry representatives, which starts at 7.30pm in the Banquet hall. More are expected at the earlier product tastings which are are open to MPs and staff from 1pm.

"Organic production is about quality without compromise and New Zealand can boast some of the best organic products in the world.

"The growth in the organic sector is phenomenal as the world quite rightly becomes more and more concerned about what happens to their food before they eat it.

"With organic sales in New Zealand tipped to reach half a billion dollars by 2006 this country is perfectly poised to capitalise on unprecedented global demand for organic produce," he said.

Mr Ewen-Street said it was timely that MPs were being educated on organics at a time when the threat to the organics industry from genetic engineering was very real.

"Organics is defined, at least in part, by the absence of any alien DNA. Because of the ability of genetically engineered organisms to 'outcross' with closely related natural species, it has been shown around the world that organic agriculture and genetic engineering cannot co-exist.

"I am delighted that the organics industry is coming to parliament to show the people who make the decisions what role organics could play in the economic and environmental future of New Zealand."

A report from Lincoln University which was released in August this year showed that nearly 40 per cent of New Zealand farmers intend to be farming organically in five to 10 years time.

"There is huge potential in organic agriculture and New Zealand farmers, producers, and above all consumers around the world, are fast waking up to the fact," said Mr Ewen-Street.


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