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Growing Organic Sector Looking To The Future

Growing Organic Sector Looking To The Future

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ), peak body of the organic sector, has two new member organisations and a new Chair, following their Annual General Meeting last week.

Derek Broadmore - a Wellington-based lawyer and chairman of organic certifying agency BioGro New Zealand - was elected unopposed to the position of Chair, previously held by former Zespri Chairman, Doug Voss.

OANZ provides leadership, coordination, information and strategy across the organic sector, bringing together regulators, exporters, researchers, certifiers, educators and community initiatives that promote sustainable primary production and protect the health and well-being of consumers and the environment.

Mr Broadmore said that his first priority is to raise the awareness of organics with political and sector leaders and to see organic production accepted as an important policy option to help achieve the Government's stated goal of making New Zealand a truly environmentally sustainable nation.

"The research already establishes the tremendous potential for organic production to make a significant contribution to meeting our greenhouse gas emission targets", Mr Broadmore said.

"The absence of synthetic chemicals - particularly nitrogen - that require large amounts of fossil fuel energy to produce leads to significantly lower average energy requirements, and coupled with the increased ability of soil to absorb atmospheric carbon, this gives organic agriculture a far lower carbon footprint than conventional methods."

As a BioGro certified apple grower himself, Mr Broadmore is also conscious of the booming international market for certified organic food, where supply is currently unable to match demand.

"Organic pipfruit and kiwifruit growers, as well as sheep and dairy farmers, are receiving significant premiums in our export markets and the potential for New Zealand primary producers is incredibly exciting" Mr Broadmore said.

"The amount of land under organic management in New Zealand increased by 36% between 2002 and 2007 but is still minimal when compared to many other developed countries. We need to work hard to capitalise on the international market for organic products, where demand increases by 10 to 20% each year."

OANZ also welcomed two new groups as Affiliate Members - The Organic Traders Association Of New Zealand Incorporated and the Organic Vegetable & Mixed Farming Association Incorporated. Both groups will be eligible for full membership once they have been in existence for two years.

"As a representative of organic retailers, wholesalers and supermarkets, The Organic Traders Association will have a crucial role to play in ensuring that consumers are aware of the health and environmental benefits of choosing certified organic products", Mr Broadmore said.

"More than half of New Zealand's organic fruit and vegetable exports are sent to Europe, and Vegetable and Mixed farmers will now have the opportunity to take a more active role in OANZ's market access activities.

"The organic sector contributes more than $330 million a year to New Zealand's economy, and is continuing to grow rapidly. I'm excited to be involved in a sector which leads on sustainability and offers so much to our health, environment and trade", Mr Broadmore said.

ENDS

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