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The focus on racing to higher and higher dairy production leaves farmers exposed, the Green Party said today.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) reported yesterday that dairy production was up nearly 10 percent for the 2011/12 season and yet total income from milk solids is expected to fall 20 percent, resulting in a drop in profit before tax of around 57 percent compared with 2011/12.
"The Government and MPI's lack of vision for our agricultural sector leaves farmers to suffer the highs and lows of commodity prices," Green Party spokesperson for agriculture Steffan Browning said.
"Farmers have been sold the tale that more and more production should be their focus, but this is at the expense of adding value, and often farming profitability.
"Our focus should instead be on maintaining our 100% pure brand and helping our farmers to produce high value products that can buffer us against the ups and downs of the commodity market.
"Promises of a dairy boom are being countered by weaker international demand and increased production in the EU and USA markets.
"Unsustainable commodity production dairy farming must change course if New Zealand farming families are to continue viably into the future.
"New Zealand needs a vision for primary production that focuses on high value products, good environmental management, and supporting family farmers.
"This Government has dropped real support for organic production and looks the other way as increased imported feed inputs such as palm kernel expeller and GE crop by-products risk our New Zealand clean green image.
"We have the environment, the technology, and the people to be able to produce world class products that have growing demand. That is where our focus should lie instead of on producing more and more low cost commodities," said Mr Browning.