The Government has passed the Organic Products and Production Bill through its third reading in Parliament today.
Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor said the legislation will help New Zealand’s organic sector to grow and lift export revenue.
“The Organic Products and Production Bill will introduce robust and practical regulation to give businesses the certainty they need to continue to invest in our growing organics sector,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Last year, New Zealand’s primary sector hit a record $53.3b in export earnings. The Government is committed to continuing to support our food and fibre businesses to capitalise on the opportunities presented by international markets. That includes the access we have secured in the UK FTA and the EU FTA.”
The regulations will also give discerning consumers confidence in their choices and boost the credibility of New Zealand’s organic products on the world stage, the Minister said.
“Consumer demand for genuine and certified organic products is significant and customers around the world are becoming increasingly discerning about how their food is produced.”
“Accordingly, our organics sector is a rapidly growing market and was worth an estimated $723m in 2020 with more than half of New Zealand’s organic output being exported overseas.
“It is key that New Zealand has a framework in place to sustain this growth and to give businesses the certainty they need to continue to invest in organic production.”
He said the Bill ushers in practical guidelines and regulations for the organics industry and allows businesses to back up their organic status with a standardised system of official certification.
“Internationally, an increasing number of countries are requiring compliance with their domestic regimes or certification from equivalent regimes. A robust domestic standard for our organic products will help to ensure New Zealand’s continued access in these markets, as well as open doors in new markets for our premium organic exports,” Mr O’Connor said.
A national organic standard for organic food, beverages, plant and animal products is currently being developed. The national organic standard will set the production and processing rules for products labelled as organic, and any requirements that are specific to the products covered by the standard.
For more information on the changes to organic products law see: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/agriculture/organic-product-requirements-in-nz/changes-to-organic-products-law/.