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Minister To Launch New Organic Certification Label

Minister Of Agriculture To Launch New Organic Certification Label

6 November 2002


New Zealanders will soon be able to buy organic fruit and vegetables grown from their own region but with the same quality assurances of internationally recognised certification labels.

The Minister of Agriculture, Jim Sutton is launching the new organic certification label, OrganicFarmNZ, in Auckland on Friday.

OrganicFarmNZ will enable small-scale organic growers to sell their product on the local market while giving consumers confidence that the food they buy is of the same standard as that produced under the well-known Bio-Gro, Demeter and Certenz labels.

The new label has been set up by the Soil and Health Association of NZ with funding from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Soil and Health spokesperson, Simon Browne says that for small-scale organic growers, it can be costly to be certified under the bigger exporting labels, therefore OrganicFarmNZ will provide a much less expensive route to organic certification.

He says OrganicFarmNZ has been designed to minimise costs for producers by operating through a system of peer review. An external audit conducted by Bio-Gro will ensure that goods grown under the OrganicFarmNZ label will be of a high standard.

"Consumers are increasingly concerned about sustainability and the issue of fossil fuel use in transportation is now part of that overall picture of sustainability," Mr Browne says.

"The benefits of buying local are that money is being put back into the local community, the food can often be fresher and of course, less fossil fuel has been used to get it to market."

Mr Browne says the scheme will operate on a region-by-region basis, each with their own management bodies and producer groups that will be known as pods. Regional management bodies will have the role of developing and co-ordinating the scheme.

ENDS

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