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Standing before the window of organic opportunity

2 November 2000

Wairarapa standing before window of organic opportunity

Green MP Sue Kedgley believes more and more consumers are turning to organic food as they become aware of the residues of pesticides, antibiotics and genetically engineered ingredients in conventional food, and says that Wairarapa farmers are very well positioned to capitalise on this trend.

Ms Kedgley said switching to organic production would have huge benefits to the local economy.

"Premiums for safe, naturally produced food are going through the roof as a suspicious public move away from chemically laden and genetically engineered foods. Internationally there is a huge swing away from these products towards foods people can trust - organics."

Ms Kedgley said the Wairarapa was perfectly positioned to become the hub of organic produce in New Zealand.

"Wairarapa has the soil, the climate and, with the commitment and the vision, could have one of the best performing local economies in the world," she said.

"Currently there is not enough organic food being produced to meet soaring international demand and premiums for some organic produce - such as braeburn apples earlier this year - can fetch up to five times the price of conventionally produced produce."

Ms Kedgley said cutting sprays out of the growing equation would mean healthier people in the area and removing chemicals would mean healthier soil and animals.

"The window of opportunity that organics poses to the Wairarapa , however, is a brief one," said Ms Kedgley. "This opportunity must be seized now if it is to be realised. The best way to do this would be to take the first step and make the Wairarapa a GE Free zone now."

Ms Kedgley said she applauded the organisors of the Organics Festival for their commitment to a healthy local economy and for trying to spread the word about one of the most profitable forms of farm production.

Contact Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6717, 025 207 9088

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