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Fertmark Launches Modified Code Of Practice

Damien O'Connor, chairperson of the Primary Production Select Committee was one of the first people to receive a copy of the new Fertmark Code of Practice at a special launch at the Federated Farmers Conference in Christchurch today.

Chairman of Fertmark, Graham Robertson says, "Fertmark, the fertiliser quality assurance scheme, has modified its Code of Practice and MAF has accepted it as an approved code under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act."

All fertilisers sold in New Zealand now come under the scrutiny of the ACVM Act and MAF require that these fertilisers adhere to standards in the Act.

Fertmark and fertiliser manufacturers have worked together to refocus the Fertmark Code of Practice so fertilisers that have passed Fertmark's stringent audit procedures automatically comply with the requirements of the ACVM Act. Under the Act, fertilisers must not produce residues in food or fibre products that exceed New Zealand or specified overseas food residue levels; cause pain or distress to animals; or contain micro-organisms likely to promote disease or pest transmission.

Fertmark executive director Kevin Geddes commends the foresight of the fertiliser industry for their support in setting up the Fertmark scheme seven years ago. Federated Farmers formed the voluntary scheme with the assistance of the industry in response to the Government's withdrawal from fertiliser testing and concern at variable nutrient levels.

"It was the far-sightedness of fertiliser companies that gave farmers and fertiliser users the opportunity to purchase quality assured fertiliser with correctly stated nutrient levels," says Mr Geddes.

"It is a measure of the success of the Fertmark scheme that the member companies of Fertmark have been able to work with MAF to develop a code for the good of the industry.

"Farmers can now be doubly confident that fertilisers bearing the Fertmark tick are of the highest possible standards and contribute to sustainable agriculture."

ends

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