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Organics Aotearoa NZ Applauds The Green Party’s Commitment To Regenerative And Organic Farming

Green Party Co-leader, James Shaw, today announced the party’s Farming for the Future Plan, including a $297m fund to support farmers and growers to transition to climate-friendly regenerative and organic practices.

Auckland, NZ (12 September 2020) - Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ), the national sector body for the organic industry, is pleased to see the Green Party’s recommitment to the Organic Sector through its Farming for the Future Plan and its commitment towards the Organic Products Bill that is currently in the hands of the Primary Select Committee.

Farming for the Future 
The Green Party’s Farming for the Future Plan aims to help farmers and food producers transition to more sustainable, high-value farm production. The $297m fund would enact a nationwide program of regenerative (including organic) farming development and implementation, and back up the investment with a strategy to fully realise the value of premium regenerative products on the market, at home and abroad.

Green Party Co-leader James Shaw stated, “As we recover from COVID-19 we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the way we grow and produce food. By making smart decisions now, we can create a farming sector that is good for farmers, people, and the planet.”

“Recognising New Zealand’s need for organic farming as a solution to climate change, while at the same time boosting economic recovery from Covid-19 by creating high-value exports, is smart business,” says OANZ Chair, Chris Morrison. “Worldwide consumer demand for organically produced food and fibre is growing and all New Zealand farmers have the opportunity to capitalise on this market and gain better premiums like current organic farmers are achieving,” he adds.

Organic Funds
The Green Party sets out to overhaul the Government’s Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures Fund into a Healthy Food and Farming Fund, with $37m set aside specifically to assist farmers to transition to organics. The funding would:

  • Establish an organic farming centre of excellence to lead on-farm research and development of best practice, and fund its ongoing costs. This would likely be in conjunction with an existing organisation such as Lincoln or Massey University ($15m over three years).
  • Provide a transitional pool of grant funding for farmers and growers to shift to organic practices. This could be used for things like organic certification costs and to help with on-farm costs during the first years of a farm’s transition to become certified organic ($17m over three years).
  • Reinstate Government funding for organic industry organisations to assist them to grow the sector with increased innovation and development. Funding would be apportioned among applicable organisations ($5m over three years).

“Investing in regenerative organic farming now helps ensure the future of Aotearoa. It is critical to achieving Zero Carbon Act goals, improving the quality of our soil, water, and biodiversity, improving the livelihoods of rural communities by creating more jobs, while providing New Zealanders more access to high-value nutritious food,” says OANZ Chair, Chris Morrison. “My only wish is that all political parties share this same desire to capitalise on economic opportunities that add value to our environment and produce a clear path for the agricultural sector to help tackle climate change.”

Organic Products Bill
The Green Party also announced its commitment towards the Organic Products Bill by pledging to:

  • Insert a definition of “organic” into the Bill before it becomes law, developed in consultation with organic producers in Aotearoa and based on the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements definition used in the European Union.
  • Clarify that reputable organic certification organisations can legally certify a product as “organic” on behalf of the Ministry for Primary Industries.
  • Establish an organics industry advisory group that includes sector representatives, to monitor the application of the new law, review how well it is working after three years, and recommend changes if needed.

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