Or­ganic growth boom

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - Karolin Mac­Gre­gor news@ru­ral­weekly.com

DE­MAND for or­ganic food is soar­ing and pro­duc­ers are get­ting on board.

The lat­est Aus­tralian Or­ganic Mar­ket Re­port says the over­all in­dus­try is now worth $2.4 bil­lion a year.

The in­dus­try has a far­m­gate pro­duc­tion value of

$1.6 bil­lion and since 2012 it has grown by about

13 per cent an­nu­ally. Na­tion­wide, 35 mil­lion hectares of land is under cer­ti­fied or­ganic man­age­ment, more than in any other coun­try.

The re­port says in Tas­ma­nia 4769ha of land has been fully cer­ti­fied or­ganic or is under or­ganic conversion.

The state’s 127 cer­ti­fied or­ganic oper­a­tions in­clude 72 pro­duc­ers. One of those is Lauran Da­men, who runs Kin­dred Or­gan­ics with wife Hen­ri­ette.

The cou­ple started down the or­ganic path al­most a decade ago and Mr Da­men was not sur­prised to see how much the in­dus­try was ex­pand­ing.

“We were eat­ing all the things our­selves we were grow­ing or­gan­i­cally and we liked it more that way,” he said.

“We con­verted the farm in stages. We were do­ing some or­ganic, some con­ven­tional be­cause we had to pay the bills, but now we’re all or­ganic.”

The cou­ple grows grains such as oats, spelt and quinoa for value-adding and sales to health-food shops in Tas­ma­nia and in­ter­state. They also pro­duce or­ganic beef.

Mr Da­men said while there was good de­mand for or­ganic meat, a lack of Tas­ma­nian sup­ply was a brake on the mar­ket.

Or­ganic dairy­ing has grown rapidly in Tas­ma­nia re­cently. The state has 6 per cent of Aus­tralia’s or­ganic dairy pro­duc­ers and 8 per cent of pro­ces­sors. Hor­ti­cul­ture is the next big­gest or­ganic sec­tor with 5 per cent of fruit grow­ers.

Na­tion­wide there are 4028 ac­cred­ited or­ganic op­er­a­tors, up 7 per cent from 2016.

Beef pro­duc­tion ac­counts for the largest area of or­ganic land, par­tic­u­larly in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and Queens­land.

How­ever, about 43 per cent of or­ganic pro­duc­ers are in­volved with the fruit in­dus­try.

The re­port val­ues de­mand for or­ganic food in the Aus­tralian gro­cery sec­tor at about $1.1 bil­lion a year. Last year or­ganic ex­ports, to more than 60 coun­tries, were worth

$717 mil­lion. Coun­tries in South-East Asia made up about 35 per cent of ex­port sales, fol­lowed by the United States with 26 per cent.

Last year de­mand from China lifted to 15 per cent, a big jump from 9 per cent in

2016.

In 2017, 384,000 more Aus­tralian house­holds pur­chased or­ganic gro­cery items com­pared with the pre­vi­ous year.

We were do­ing some or­ganic, some con­ven­tional be­cause we had to pay the bills, but now we’re all or­ganic.

— Lauran Da­men

PHOTO: CHRIS KIDD

MODERN FARM: Lauran Da­men in a field of spelt at Kin­dred.

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