New Zealand Surges in Organic Apple Production
In the 1998/99 season, New
Zealand growers produced 220,000 cartons of organic and
transitional organic apples (apples from trees grown using
organic methods for less than the three years required to attain
full organic certification). In the 1999/00 season there has been
an overwhelming surge of growers who have chosen to adopt organic
production methods. High price premiums have encouraged the large
shift, but industry leaders warn that too much volume will reduce
premiums. Forecasts of organic production for the 1999/00 season
indicate that 30-40,000 cartons of organic apples will be
produced (540 MT), and the volume of transitional fruit could
reach up to 600,000 cartons (10,800 MT), the majority of which
will be first year transition fruit.
New U.S. Risk Protection Legislation Includes Organics
Two provisions relating to organics were included in the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000, signed by President Clinton on June 20, 2000. Under current rules, farmers must grow crops using traditional "good farming practices" in order to receive full Federal crop insurance protection. In general, organic farming practices are not recognized under these rules. One of the new provisions adds "scientifically sound sustainable and organic farming practices" to the list of good farming practices.
The second provision authorizes cost share assistance "to mitigate financial risk through production diversification or resource conservation practices" for producers in States with historically low participation in the Federal crop insurance program. Among the forms of cost assistance authorized is "transition to organic farming." The law covers the 5-year period starting with fiscal year 2001. Details concerning how USDA will implement these provisions will be released later.
For more news on organics, see HTPs monthly newsletter "Organic Perspectives," available at the HTP home page: www.fas.usda.gov/htp/organics/organics.html The newsletter contains reports on organics from around the world gleaned from attache reports, trips made by HTPs organics staff, and other sources. The newsletter also covers items of interest about the U.S. national organic program and the domestic organic industry. A list of upcoming conferences, trade shows and other events is included in every issue.
(For further information, contact Janise Zygmont at 202-720-1176.)