Organic Farm New Zealand, OFNZ, was created to fill a need for farmers who had increasingly felt isolated, frustrated and disadvantaged because the existing certification systems could not deliver a service at an affordable price. The question though was not one of just affordability there was also the issue that many believed that certifiers should provide support for the organic sector as a whole. For many the established certification system was a system that had lost its soul, it had become focused on export certification and left behind the local market suppliers many of whom had been foundation supporters of the organization.
The concept of OFNZ reignited amongst many; a flame of hope, that certification could be more than just a label, with the process itself becoming a tool for focusing community development and encouraging new organic farmers. OFNZ began the process of providing organic certification for farmers in 2002. In 2003 OFNZ was registered as an Incorporated Society. In March 2005 there were 185 registered certified OFNZ farmers producing for the domestic market on a local, regional and national level.
There is a wide range of product certified by OFNZ which includes fruit and vegetables, nursery plants, eggs, seeds and some livestock and some processing units. There is no restriction on the types of products that can be certified but for the processing of products a specialist ‘inspector’ may be required as the expertise for such an inspection might rest outside the skills of the pod members.
More information about OFNZ is available on http://www.organicfarm.org.nz/