The market for organic food in Australia has seen dramatic growth in recent years, with farm-gate sales increasing by 80% since 2004, a study has found.

Organic farm gate values were estimated at A$231m (US$223.4m) in 2007 and retail value reached A$578m, the University of New England's Australian Organic Market Report, commissioned by Biological Farmers Australia, revealed.

Biological Farmers Australia director Andrew Monk attributed the boom in organic farming to soaring consumer demand.

While drought has hit the Australian agricultural sector, Monk suggested that organic farming techniques made soil more resilient to drought and flood.

''More organic matter in the soil means a more resilient soil structure. If you get a deluge you don't lose the topsoil and secondly you have water retention capacity during dry periods," Monk said.