With worldwide demand for organic products escalating, the Australian Government has published a report calling on Australian producers to cash-in on the opportunity.

The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) has completed research that reveals the demand for organic products outstrips supply internationally.

Organic production is one of the fastest growing sectors in the global food industry, with an estimated international market value of A$38bn a year, the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Sussan Ley, said yesterday (4 July).

Outlining the demand for organics in the US, Europe and Asia, Ley said that the research demonstrates that organics is no passing fad.

"Australia already produces a wide range of organic products for export, like cereals, meat, sugar, animal feeds and processed foods but, in most cases, supply and capacity for processing, storage and transport are the main limitations," Ley said.

Currently, Japan is Australia's biggest market, taking just over one third of Australia's organic exports including meat, cereals, beverages and spices. The second biggest market is continental Europe, accounting for  26% of exports, followed by the UK at 17%.
 
"The organics industry also sits across the traditional sectors, like beef, lamb, broadacre grains and horticulture, as well as many of the emerging sectors. For organic industries to succeed, they need support from the sectors in which they operate," the minister concluded. 

RIRDC MD Dr Peter O'Brien expanded on this point, suggesting that in order to take advantage of the organic boom the industry needs to see the establishment of strong industry organisations and better market access.

"We can see change in the makeup of Australian production already, and this change will continue," Dr O'Brien said. "With the right help, the new rural industries — including the organic industries — will make an important, growing and unique contribution to the profitability, sustainability and resilience of rural Australia."