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Green's Policy Could Destroy Market For Organics

"The market opportunities for organic products are growing steadily but still represent a small part of the international marketplace," said Tom Lambie, Vice-President of Federated Farmers and long time organic dairy farmer.

"There is no doubt demand for organic food by wealthy consumers is growing steadily in Europe, but it still amounts to only 2% of food consumed."

Mr Lambie has just returned from Europe where he addressed the International Dairy Federation on organic dairy production. He also took the opportunity to carefully examine the European market demand for organic production.

Key points of the European organic marketplace need to be considered carefully and taken on board by New Zealand, he said.

"For instance, the Danish Government intervened in exactly way the NZ Greens Party has recommended. As a result, the supply of organic dairy products outstripped consumer demand by 100%, removing the premium for half the production."

"The good news for New Zealand is that a large proportion of New Zealand pastoral farmers are already meeting the European standards for organic production."

"But because of market access restrictions, New Zealand is effectively shut out of the three main markets demanding organic production. It is time the Green Party put more effort into helping New Zealand farmers in their fight for market access."

"If the Green Party wants to promote New Zealand's organic production, they should put their efforts behind our attempts to gain market access, and invest in market research to enable producers to carefully plan for the gradual growth in the organic market."

Federated Farmers also disagrees with the Green's trade policy. "The Green's trade policy is strange. For a country exporting over 80% of its agricultural production to advocate self-sufficiency in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is bizarre," concluded Mr Lambie.

ENDS

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