Australia: Organic Producers to Form Peak Body

Australia’s organic sector could soon have its own peak body as it vies to become a A$2 billion industry.

The Organic Industries working group is laying the groundwork for the new national body for the country’s 3700-odd producers, processors and handlers.

The project is so far being funded by Australian Organic, NASAA Organic, OBE Organic, Australian Organic Meats, Certified Organic Australia, Mycelia Organics and the Organic Federation of Australia.

Managing director at Policy Partners — which has been appointed to steer the project — Tony Webster said the sector had acknowledged it needed a united voice, particularly when lobbying governments.

“There’s a very disparate group of producers, it cuts right across all commodities: food, health products, baby foods, cosmetics,” Mr Webster said.

He said Australia’s organics industry is relatively small, but has strong growth potential. The peak body would potentially tackle trade and export issues, increasing the export market’s confidence in Australia’s organic credentials, and domestic concerns about using the “organic” label.

Mr Webster said there was a “large organic sector outside the organic sector” of producers committed to organics but were not certified, while others were “not as organic as they appear”.

Working group chair Greg McNamara — chair of NSW dairy co-operative Norco — said the aim was to get broad representation, from boutique producers to major exporters and certifiers. Consultations next month will guide the peak body’s model and possible membership structure.

Sustainable Foods Summit
The premier Asia-Pacific edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit will give an update on the organic food market. This executive summit will take place in Singapore on 28-30th November, whilst the Latin American edition will be hosted in São Paulo on 18-20th September. More details are on the website

Source: The Weekly Times (31/07)