The Growth of Organics in New Zealand

  • Organic sales in NZ have grown by 50% a year for the past 3 years. In 2002, the domestic market for organic products was valued at NZ$70 million (US$38.5 million); another $70 million was exported.
  • Wannabe farmers eager to get on organic bandwagon: Of NZ’s 80,000 farmers: 700 - 800 are certified organic, another 10% consider their operations partly organic, and 37% want to convert to organic within 5-10 years. Data courtesy of a recent survey conducted by the University of Otago’s Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food & Environment.
  • Growth potential for organic dairy: Although there are currently just 17 certified organic dairy farms in New Zealand, the NZ dairy products marketing board says the market could support up to 250 certified organic dairies.
  • A six-fold increase in organic acreage: New Zealand’s largest organic certification group, Bio-Gro certifies NZ$100 million (US$55 million) of organic product a year. In 2001 Bio-Gro certified 31,185 ha (77,058 ac); AgriQuality, the second-largest certifier, certified 13,184 ha (32,578 ac); Demeter certified 2,155 ha (5,325 ac). Total certified acreage in NZ has expanded sixfold since 1997.
  • A tidal wave of new organic products: NZ’s first organic standards were drafted in the early 1980s. At that time there were just a handful of organic products for sale in stores; today there are more than 3000.
  • Low-cost certification for small growers: Late last year the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries began OrganicFarmNZ, a new program designed to offer low-cost certification to small-scale producers marketing locally. Run in with help from the Soil & Health Association of NZ the program is administered by regional growers and audited by Bio-Gro.
  • Organic exports zeroing in on half-billion mark: The Organic Products Exporters Group (OPENZ), predicts organic exports could be as high as NZ$500 million by the year 2006. Currently most of NZ’s organic exports go to Europe (41%), followed by Japan (26%).
  • Goal of one billion by 2013: The Organic Federation of Aotearoa New Zealand [Aotearoa is the Maori name for NZ] has drafted a national strategy for NZ organics setting a financial target of NZ$1 billion (US$550 mil) total sales by 2013.