Organic News from NZ

Lipitor Online Buy Lipitor Erythromycin Online Buy Coumadin Penisole Online Buy Phentrimine Zelnorm Online Buy Elavil Flomax Online Buy Aldactone

Organics sector to fight GE in court

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand has filed documents in the High Court supporting legal action brought by GE Free NZ against field trials of genetically-modified brassica near Lincoln.

The Environmental Risk Management Authority in May approved an application by Crop and Food Research to grow genetically-modified cabbages, broccoli, cauliflowers and forage kale for the next 10 years.

� Doug Voss

Organics Aotearoa Chairman Doug Voss believes the decision to allow the trials failed to consider the risks of genetic modification to organic production. Mr Voss says even a small accidental release of genetically-modified material would critically damage New Zealand’s reputation as a producer of pure, clean and safe food.

He stresses genetic modification is incompatible with organic production. Contamination of any certified organic property would automatically void certification, destroying the producer’s business.

Mr Voss notes that a recent EU decision to allow limited GM contamination of European-produced organic food raised widespread concern among consumers. As a result, NZ’s continued GE-free status gives us a significant advantage in many of the world’s largest organic markets.

He adds, “The organic sector contributes more than $300m a year to NZ’s economy, and is growing rapidly towards our billion-dollar goal. We simply cannot allow the threat of GM to go unchallenged and put this growth at risk.”

Kiwi shoppers still have ‘muddy’ picture of organics

Dr Andrew Murphy, senior lecturer in commerce at Massey University

New research shows New Zealand consumers are still poorly informed about organic food and are confused about labels and official marks of organic certification.

The study by Massey University’s marketing department also found despite a rapid increase in demand for organic food, market research in the organics sector is lagging way behind industry growth.

Commerce lecturer Dr Andrew Murphy, who surveyed a random sample of 100 consumers, found they generally had a “muddy” picture of the organics market. This should be a concern to organics producers and marketers.

Dr Murphy interviewed shoppers at supermarkets and weekend markets in Auckland, where organic produce is typically available.
Consumers seemed to have little knowledge of certification systems and labels, and only 21% could name one of the certifying organisations. However, once prompted with a range of labels, respondents showed higher recognition of organic certifiers.

When questioned about their reasons for eating organic food, consumers gave top priority to personal benefits, including health benefits, and avoiding genetically modified foods.

Ninety-four per cent found high prices a barrier to purchasing organic foods, while 30% found seasonal availability a disincentive, and 23% said the appearance of organic produce was not as uniform as non-organic, which put them off buying it.

Dr Murphy concludes his study shows a pressing need for more research into the organic market and consumer perceptions.

New Zealand’s first totally degradable plastic bags

It looks like a normal plastic bag but this one contains a unique additive, which makes it degrade completely within 18 months.

New Zealand’s largest supplier of organic fruit and vegetables to supermarkets, Purefresh Organics, has launched degradable plastic bags for its carrots and will progressively introduce them to its whole product range.

The totally degradable plastic bags are a first for New Zealand. The bags start to degrade after six months in normal storage conditions and will completely disintegrate after 18 months.

They contain an additive (D2W) that causes the plastics to break down safely into water and carbon dioxide, making them superior to existing bio-degradable plastic bags.

Purefresh Organics’ General Manager, Anna Aloma, notes ordinary bio-degradable bags, such as those made from corn starch, require the bag to be in a biologically active environment (for example, by being buried in the ground or in a compost situation) before the degradation process begins. They will not biodegrade in a landfill, where most rubbish ends up.

Packaging is an important issue for the regulators of the organics industry. Ms Aloma notes that, at this stage, packaging is a “necessary evil” to keep organic produce fresh in retail outlets such as supermarkets. But she adds, “We are very conscious of the impact packaging has on the environment, and we are constantly trying to find ways to mitigate it.”

BioGro chief executive Michelle Glogau agrees packaging is a critical issue for the organics industry, especially for fresh produce. Dr Glogau believes consumers buying certified organic produce need assurance it has not only been produced to organic standards but also the types and amount of packaging have been scrutinised.

Diary these dates

Workshops with Dr Ton Bars (Professor of Biodynamics at Kassel University, Germany)

Wednesday 12th September.� Te Pare Farm, 2322 Kahutara Road, Featherston, from 10.30am to 2pm. Organised in conjunction with the OANZ Organics Advisory Programme.

� Te Pare Farm, 2322 Kahutara Road, Featherston, from 10.30am to 2pm. Organised in conjunction with the OANZ Organics Advisory Programme.
Ton’s main theme is “learning by experience”. There will also be a farm walk on the 512ha property owned by the Barghs. More information from Bill Quinn, or 027 564 5170.

Friday 14 September. Cleavedale Farm, 74 Hinuera Road, Matamata, from 10.30am to 2.30pm.

Cleavedale Farm, 74 Hinuera Road, Matamata, from 10.30am to 2.30pm.
This workshop is on the organic dairy farm of John Vosper and Liz MacKay, who run Jersey cows on 120 hectares. This is an opportunity to visit an operational organic dairy farm and meet an international expert on organic and biodynamic practices.

With experience in organic and biodynamic agriculture spanning 30 years, Professor Baars has been a farmer, teacher and researcher, specializing in biodynamic dairy farming. Professor Baars has been presenting a series of workshops across the country though August and September, and was a keynote speaker at the national Organic Sector Conference at Lincoln University in August.

Professor Baars’ visit to New Zealand has been sponsored by AGMARDT and organized by the OANZ Organic Advisory Programme.

Other public meetings with Ton Baars:

Tuesday 11th September. Presentation at Massey University.

Presentation at Massey University. � Thursday 13th September. Dairy and pastoral field day in Taranaki.

Dairy and pastoral field day in Taranaki.
More information is available at this link: Ton Baars’ Visit.

$5m Australian acquisition for CER

CER Group has completed the purchase of Australian sustainable environmental management company Vital Resource Management (VRM) for $5 million. The purchase price will be met through an initial cash payment of $A750,000 and the issue of some 18 million ordinary CER Group shares at an issue price of 10c a share, together with deferred cash and share elements.

CER Group Managing Director David Warrick says the acquisition of VRM will add a third core business stream to CER, based around specialist biological management products which treat soil and water. VRM has committed forward orders of $A4.5 million.

Mr Warrick says the acquisition is consistent with CER’s philosophy of investing in proven businesses which will provide capital growth and have at their core natural products that contribute to environmental sustainability. VRM’s operations will continue to be based in Queensland, and will operate under the existing successful management team led by Ken Bellamy.

Organics News Roundup

A selection of recent stories on organics from news media in New Zealand and around the world.

Conventional farmers see spin-offs in organics
Rural News 04/09/2007

Almost 64,000ha of New Zealand is now certified organic - 36% more than 2002. Dramatic growth in the organic sector is tipped to continue and major companies see the industry as a key factor to their future development.

Organic meat and dairy production is a significant growth area, and has transformed from a small niche sector into big business. Large farmers and companies like Fonterra are excited about the market potential and New Zealand’s booming sector is now worth more than $330 million annually.

And the benefits for agriculture stretch to conventional farmers who can pick up on information and tools to benefit their businesses - especially to help deal with the mounting global pressures on environmental accountability. Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) says many international markets are growing by more than 20% per year and global sales last year reached $60 billion.

Fonterra would exceed original targets if it could certify every farm that has put its hand up to supply organic milk. The company’s world category manager for organics Rick Carmont told Rural News organics is now a key part of the business.With about 15,000 cows now in the organic programme, Carmont expects this has the potential to grow to 35,000-40,000 cows just going on the serious interest expressed by farmers.


NZ beating UK dairy farmers on emissions
NZPA 05/09/2007

Meat and dairy industries in Britain and New Zealand should be working jointly on issues such as the “carbon footprint” and energy efficiency of their produce, says a leading NZ academic. Influential people were telling UK supermarket chains to change the positioning of meat in their aisles to reduce consumption of meat, said Professor Caroline Saunders, director of Lincoln University’s agribusiness and economics research unit.

She told Parliament’s primary production select committee yesterday that meat and dairy products were at risk of being thought of as “bad” because no matter which country produced them, there was a cost in terms of methane and nitrous oxide emissions. She was speaking in the wake of a failed effort by NZ meat and wool officials to engage British farm leaders in the food miles and “carbon footprints” debate.

Thomas Binns, chairman of the livestock board of Britain’s National Farmers’ Union, said in Wellington on Monday that British farmers did not want to open up the food miles debate “prematurely”. Asked for an assurance that the NFU would not use a simplistic approach to food miles to attack NZ exporters, he said that the UK’s major farm lobby would wait to see what formula was used to compare greenhouse gas emissions in the sector. “In that debate, we will support the British consumer,” he said.


‘Too early’ to discuss carbon footprint - UK farmers
NZPA� 04/09/2007

Efforts by New Zealand meat and wool industry officials to engage British farmers in the food miles and “carbon footprints” debate appear to have failed. “We are not wanting to open up the food miles debate prematurely,” said Thomas Binns, chairman of the livestock board of Britain’s National Farmers’ Union.

“In the short-term I don’t think it’s an area that we need to be too concerned with,” he told journalists in Wellington yesterday. Asked for an assurance that the NFU would not use a simplistic approach to food miles to attack NZ exporters, he said that the UK’s major farm lobby would wait and see the results of research on how greenhouse gas emissions in food production and transport should be calculated.

“The whole issue of food miles and carbon is a big issue for us all. There is a big issue about the complexity of understanding that,” he said. Fonterra’s butter exports to Britain have been attacked with a “knocking” campaign by a British dairy company which highlighted the distance the butter had to be shipped.


Ireland: One-in-20 acres to be organic in move to green food future
The� 03/09/2007

One in every 20 acres of Irish farmland will be delivering organic produce by 2012, to keep up with consumer demand for “greener” food, Junior Agriculture Minister Trevor Sargent said yesterday. The ambitious target to increase organic production five-fold in just five years will be achieved through a payments scheme which will see organic farmers receiving up to �22,000 a year during the conversion period and �16,000 after that, the former Green Party leader said.

While Ireland has been slow to build-up organic farming, Mr Sargent said rising consumer demand would drive the increase of organic production from the current 1pc of farmland to 5pc over the next five years. Mr Sargent also urged the country’s 35,000 restaurants, hotels and other food businesses to make more of local food.

Culinary tourism is a growing trend among consumers who want to know more about their food, he said. “Food that is locally produced and sold with pride, connects farming, food and rural communities,” he said.


Leave a Comment »

Comments RSS 2.0

no comments yet - be the first?


FireStats icon Powered by FireStats