The Government needs to up its game and do more to support dairy farmers into organics as payouts for organics continue to skyrocket, the Green Party said today.
Today Fonterra announced a 2016/2017 market-linked forecast of $9.20 per kilo for organic milksolids – more than double the price for conventional farmgate milk ($3.90 per kilo) – reflecting a global surge in demand for organics.
“Organic milk is better for our farmers’ backpockets and for our environment – it should be one of the Government’s priorities,” said Green Party organics spokesperson Steffan Browning.
“We all know that many conventional dairy farmers are doing it tough at the moment but this high price for organics is a real glimmer of hope for the whole sector.
“Instead of turning their noses up at organics, the Government should be doing everything it in its power to help farmers convert.
“The Government could start by reinstating the Organic Advisory Programme. It was completely shortsighted of National to close it in the first place, and the programme would be a valuable resource right now for farmers who want to convert to organics.
“Let’s take this opportunity to be the world’s key supplier of organic milk – an opportunity that is under-supplied, and that would be great for brand New Zealand.
“Organic milk production is just one way that the Government can add value to milk exports instead of relying on the low-value, high-volume strategy that has been pursued.
“Fonterra could also be doing more. Just today it closed its Kaikoura cheese factory, which could have been used to produce organic goods with milk from farmers around the South Island.
“Fonterra currently does no organic processing in the South Island. This new price will only benefit existing organic producers, which are all bar one in the North Island,” Mr Browning said.