Australia: program to develop organic sector
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
The horticulture industry is struggling to keep up with a dramatic increase in demand domestically and internationally for organic fruit and vegetables, Australian Organic reports. To address the shortfall, Australian Organic has developed a three year, AUD1.2m program (about €800,000). Horticulture Australia Limited is contributing 40% of the funds. A major component of the program is a horticulture industry development officer who will educate and support growers with Australian Certified Organic certification.
According to the Australian Organic Market Report 2012, fruit and vegetables are the most commonly bought organic item and researchers IBISWorld predict organic farming will double in five years; it’s already the third fastest growing industry in Australia. Australian Organic’s Commercial General Manager Joanne Barber says the certified organic horticulture sector needs help to grow and to be financially sustainable. A lot of large conventional businesses growing certified organic vegetables, and small to medium size farms are struggling to keep up with demand for consistent supply of products, particularly to the major retailers.
The funding will give the industry a considerable boost because up until now there isn’t much development support for organic growers – many have to search online for agronomy solutions and they can feel quite alone, according to Australian Organic. The funding will help certified organic farmers in Australia establish sound business plans and it will encourage new growers to the industry. Australian Certified Organic is also implementing an onboarding program to help all farmers and graziers certified by them to achieve organic certification and to have long term profitable businesses.
Australian Organic was also presenting at the national AUSVEG conference in Cairns and was meeting with a delegation of international buyers who were looking for more certified organic vegetables. “This was the first time the organic industry has been encouraged to attend such a significant event in the horticulture calendar and just goes to show how important it is to the horticulture market in Australia and overseas. More information is available from Australian Organic.
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