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Milestone achieved by the organic sector

The organic sector has agreed on a strategy for development that includes a target of $1-billion total sector sales by 2013, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

The 20-year strategy was written by Martech Consulting Group, contracted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Mr Sutton said the strategy's completion was a milestone in the development of the organic sector. He said it was particularly pleasing to see that all major players had bought into it.

"The government has a clear policy of helping the development of the organic sector."

Representatives of the various groups that comprise the sector will now implement the strategy. As part of the strategy, an organic sector board that will provide leadership. Establishment board members are to be appointed. Nominations are being called for by the sector representatives who have overseen the development of the strategy.

The new strategy is expected to be launched in June to coincide with the launching of the New Zealand Organic Standard, currently being developed by Standards New Zealand.

Mr Sutton said he would follow the sector's plans for implementing the strategy with interest.

"I hope that by June the organics industry will be in fine shape with a new standard for organic products and strategy being implemented. The sector will be well positioned to make the most of the opportunities arising through the growing interest in organic products."

These are in addition to the small-scale organic producers' certification scheme and the Official Organic Assurance Programme for the export of New Zealand's organic products launched last year.

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