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More New Zealand farmers want to go organic

(Aug. 24, 2001 – CropChoice news) – A report out of New Zealand reveals that a growing number of farmers in the country want to switch to organic growing methods, which disallow the use of most syntehtic pesticides and fertilizers, within 5 to 10 years.

Ten percent of New Zealand farmers currently describe their growing practices as organic, 73 percent as conventional and 17 percent as potentially transgenic (were the government, in adherence to the advice of the Royal Commission, to allow the cultivation and exportation of genetically modified crops).

In 5 to 10 years, the number of farmers wishing to farm organically will jump from 27 percent to 37 percent, the number intending to continue conventional farming will drop to 46 percent and the number planning to grow transgenic varieties will remain at 17 percent, according to the report – "Environmental Beliefs and Farm Practices of New Zealand Organic, Conventional and GE Intending Farmers" – that the Agribusiness and Economic Research Unit of Lincoln University produced.

Green Party MP and organic farmer Ian Ewen-Street told the Rural Reporter: "I welcome this report because it shows what I have been saying for some time - that more and more farmers are realising the huge opportunity of organics and are looking to switch. It also shows that apart from a small and static group, farmers are rejecting genetic engineering and that those who intend to use it are ypically dairy farmers and those with the highest farm incomes…Like the people of New Zealand, farmers know that they cannot have it both ways. We cannot have genetically engineered and organic agriculture co-existing. We cannot have genetic engineering and keep our clean, green, natural image."