Minister announces progress on setting a national standard for organics

A national standard for organic production will be established in  a Government bill next year, Agriculture and Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

A national standard will give consumers confidence in organic claims and businesses certainty to invest and innovate in the growing sector, he said.

It also will help grow the organic export trade as it brings New Zealand in line with international approaches to regulation.

NZ is one of only two of the top 25 organic markets in the world with voluntary rather than mandatory standards.

The global demand for organic products is increasing and NZ’s organic sector has responded with growth of 30 per cent over the past two years. It is now worth about $600 million a year.

A majority of public submissions earlier this year supported the Government’s approach of a single set of rules for organic production.

“I’m pleased we can now move ahead with the changes so our agribusinesses can extract more value from what they do as soon as possible,” Damien O’Connor said.

The Green Party has long-supported the growth of the organics sector.

“We know organics is key to sustainable land use and helps reinforce New Zealand’s reputation as a trusted producer of high-value natural products,” Primary Industries spokesperson for the Greens Gareth Hughes said.

The next step is to draft an organics bill to be introduced next year and there will be opportunities for the public and the sector to feed back at the Select Committee stage.

Mr O’Connor was joined by Mr Hughes for the announcement at the Horticulture Export Authority’s release of the report Barriers to Our Export Trade in Wellington today, following Cabinet’s approval earlier in the day.

Source: Minister of Agriculture and Food Safety

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