Improved market access good for NZ sustainability

Soil & Health is grateful for the efforts of New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) staff in supporting BioGro New Zealand’s drive for better access for New Zealand organic produce into the demanding Japanese market.

It was announced on Friday that BioGro NZ Ltd received Recognised Foreign Certification Organisation (RFCO) status with Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).

Previously, New Zealand organic producers exporting to Japan needed approval by a Japanese certifier, as well as inspections in NZ by BioGro. BioGro’s new RFCO status with Japan MAFF will allow direct certification to Japan’s organic standard, JAS, using BioGro staff without the need of the Japanese certifier and the extra bureaucracy. NZFSA and BioGro had worked together for the outcome.

“Better access to high value organic markets means more environmentally sustainable New Zealand food production, and increased healthy organic food available for New Zealand consumers as extra production builds’, said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning, “the sustainability benefits for New Zealand by improved organic market access at this time cannot be overestimated. Reports show fertilizer use in conventional production remaining at highly unsustainable levels, causing off farm pollution”, he added. “Organic production is significantly more sustainable”.

BioGro was formed in 1983 through the efforts of the Soil and Health Association, The Bio Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association and the Henry Doubleday Research Institute, to promote organic production and to develop a set of credible standards against which production of organic produce could be measured. BioGro remains New Zealand’s leading organic certification agency.

“Soil & Health knows that BioGro and NZFSA have worked hard to achieve the improved access, and sees the outcome as an example of how the organic sector and government agencies can work together,” said Mr Browning. “This is in contrast to the recent MAF discussion paper, Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change, that totally missed the opportunities afforded by organic production to address climate change mitigation”.

“It is important that MAF Policy acknowledge and embrace the opportunities that organic production can give New Zealand in added value, high premium returns while enhancing New Zealand’s environmental sustainability and market image”.

“Clearly NZFSA has appreciated those advantages. A truly sustainable New Zealand primary production sector with top value branding, will be achieved more easily when government embraces the Organic 2020 target”, said Mr Browning.

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