Organic Farming in the Falkland Islands
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Of the 1.1 million hectares of agricultural land in the Falkland Islands, approximately 40 % of the area is certified ‘in-conversion’ organic, following an interest from the FI Government in organic agriculture. Ten Falkland Island farms have gained ‘in conversion’ Australian Certified Organic status, according to BFA. Mac McArthur, Falkland Islands Senior Agricultural Advisor, says the Falkland Islands offer a distinct advantage for organic agriculture. "The Islands have a marginal and unspoiled farming environment which is host to some of the world’s most spectacular and rare wildlife. This environment lends itself to a more natural production system – perfect for organic farming.” The Falklands Department of Agriculture recognised the greater need for farms to become certified organic and along with Australian Certified Organic status formed a successful partnership.
Dr. Andrew Monk, BFA Director and standards committee convenor, says the Falkland’s Department of Agriculture chose ACO in major part on merit of its standard. “This was due to the market access opportunities it provides and its suitability to the Falkland Islands' rangeland environment similar to some Australian rangeland areas.” Two Agricultural Advisors of the Falklands Islands recently completed training courses in Australia in order for the Falklands to conduct their own certification audits that will comply only with ACO standards. This is fantastic news for ACO, as the Falkland Islands Government is currently active in promoting organic certification as a step towards marketing their produce internationally, according to Dr. Monk.
Mr. McArthur says the FIs are aiming to become certified organic to add value to quality products. “We are also hoping that, through forming a strong relationship with ACO, it will increase our chances of building trading relationships on an international front.” Currently, the FIs only export certified organic wool. “Once ACO organic accreditation comes through, the Falkland Islands are planning to export their certified organic wool to new and current international markets,” says Mr. McArthur. “Organic lamb and beef may potentially be able to be marketed to European countries and other export markets in the mid to long term future.”