Horticulture New Zealand says it backs moves to introduce a national standard for organic products through the Organic Products Bill, currently before Parliament.
‘Having a uniform, national standard for organic fruit and vegetables that is recognised across the world will increase exports because the standard will make it so much easier and cheaper to gain access to international markets,’ says HortNZ Chief Executive, Mike Chapman.
‘New Zealand used to have a growing and dynamic export market for its organic produce. However, that growth has been stymied due to the cost and complexity of meeting market by market requirements because our country has no, internationally recognised organic standard.
‘The Bill proposes a national standard that will give consumers across the world and in New Zealand greater confidence that the organic fruit and vegetables they are buying has been grown to a rigorous and consistent standard. We are confident that this standard will increase export and domestic demand, in world that is increasingly interested in how its food is grown.’
New Zealand Certified Organic Kiwifruit Growers Association Chairman, Doug Voss says it is essential that this Bill goes through.
‘Worldwide demand for organic kiwifruit is increasing dramatically as people become more and more concerned about food safety. That is why this Bill needs to be passed, quickly followed by national standards and regulations that make the whole thing work for organic growers.’
New Zealand is one of only two of the top 25 organic markets (by value) that does not have a mandatory regulation. While the organic fruit and vegetable sector in New Zealand is relatively small, like the rest of the organics sector, it is growing almost twice as fast as the conventional sector, up 8.1% per year compared to 4.8% per year for conventionally grown produce (Source: 2018 New Zealand Organic Sector Report).
The Bill is currently being considered by Parliament. Along with the New Zealand Certified Kiwifruit Organic Growers Association, HortNZ has made a number of suggestions on how to improve the operation of the new standards. This is part of the normal Parliamentary process.