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Environmental Beliefs and Practices Report

23 August 2001
PR131/01
FFNZ: Environmental Beliefs and Practices Report No Surprise

Lincoln University's 'Environmental Beliefs and Farm Practices of New Zealand Organic, Conventional and GE Intending Farmers" report contains no surprises according to Federated Farmers of New Zealand President Alistair Polson.

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

"This report confirms that New Zealand farmers are consumer orientated, and recognise the benefits of low intensity production systems, said Mr Polson. As such they need to be free to make the appropriate choices to respond to consumer demands."

"Mr Ewen-Street incorrectly concludes that these figures support his theory that genetically engineered and organic agriculture cannot co-exist."

"FFNZ has 16,000 members including organic farmers and our own Vice President Tom Lambie is an organic dairy farmer," said Mr Polson.

"By European standards many of our pastoral farms would be considered organic. Our farming systems are less intensive and more natural than methods used in most livestock producing countries."

"The Royal Commission on Genetic Modification encourages the coexistence of all forms of agriculture, Mr Polson said. The challenge for New Zealand is to find smart ways of making sure organic agriculture and GM can co-exist. MAF is already working with industry to address these issues"

"FFNZ supports a policy of choice that recognises farmers must decide what to produce and determine what technologies they apply to meet market signals. In preserving our options we need to ensure that we do not have an organics industry which seeks to block off other people's options and vice-versa."

ENDS

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