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Organics are the future, but fund-less

Organics are the future, but fund-less


The organics sector got a report but no money on Budget Day despite clear evidence of growth and huge potential for further export earnings, the Green Party said today.

Ministers Tim Groser and John Carter insulted the organics sector, according to the Green Party’s Rural Affairs spokesperson Kevin Hague, choosing Budget Day to launch the New Zealand Organic Report when the Budget contained absolutely nothing for the sector and John Key’s Government had discontinued funding to help farmers shift to organic methods.

“Organic farming creates much higher value products than traditional farming. Despite this, the Government has failed to fund Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) and the programme that helps farmers make the switch to organics,” said Mr Hague.

The Otago University report shows organic farming is now a $485 million dollar industry with significant environmental benefits and further economic potential. OANZ has a value target of $1 billion by 2013.

“It is essential for a smart economy that we support high-value commodity products such as organics. Our producers are doing a great job and there’s potential to keep on expanding,” said Mr Hague.

The report showed the organics sector’s spectacular growth corresponded with the Organics Advisory Programme (OAP) which assisted farmers who wanted to make the shift to organics. The OAP was a Green Party initiative under the last Government.

“There is a growing domestic and international market for organic products,” Mr Hague said. “Supporting our organics industry would benefit the economy, the environment, and help to make our clean green brand a reality.

“John Key’s Government is doing nothing. It has ended funding for the Organic Advisory Programme and it forces organic producers to pay levies to traditional farming bodies that have little to offer them.

“Let organic producers pay their levies to OANZ who can actually help them.”

The Government’s decision to not help the organic industry was symptomatic of a broader neglect of New Zealand’s green brand based on a failure to look after the environment, Mr Hague said.

ENDS

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