The Government should help cash strapped dairy farmers by assisting them to transition to higher premium organic milk production, the Green Party said today.
“Organic milk is fetching an extra $1.75 per kilo of milk solids over Fonterra’s forecast $4.15 farmgate price, and internationally processors are crying out for it,” said Green Party organics spokesperson Steffan Browning.
“The Government should recognise the economic and environmental benefits of organic milk production for New Zealand; these include higher returns for farmers from less intensively-stocked farms, less water pollution and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
“Finance Minister Bill English said in Parliament last year that farmers will convert to organic if they want the higher premium, but there are significant barriers to this.
“There needs to be changes to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) and a reinstatement of the Organic Advisory Programme to help farmers transition to organic milk production.
“The Government can market New Zealand’s organic products more effectively, investing in organic production technologies through its programmes, and setting targets for organic production as they do in countries like Denmark.
“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,” Mr Browning said.