A lack of commitment to the organic farming sector from the National Government is causing New Zealand to fall behind our major agricultural competitors in the race to compete for the high-value organic dollar, the Green Party said today.
The 2016 New Zealand Organic Market Report, released today, shows there has been a 55 percent decline in the area of New Zealand farmland producing organic livestock in 2015. At the same time, organic farmland in both Australia and the EU increased, alongside a 15 percent growth in the value of the Australian organic sector.
“It's shocking that organic production has plummeted in New Zealand while in the rest of the world the sale of organic products is increasing 25 percent each year," said Green Party organics spokesperson Steffan Browning.
“The organics decline is linked to the National Government stripping support for the sector, resulting in production falling in New Zealand while our competitors like Australia, Denmark and the EU, have taken advantage of this opportunity.
“One of the National Government's first acts in power was to strip away the Organic Advisory Programme, which helped farmers navigate the pretty complicated transition to organic farming.
“Organic farming is integral to New Zealand's clean green brand. It's embarrassing we have fallen so far behind the rest of the world.
“The Government should be marketing 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 products,” Mr Browning said.