Authors: John Paull
The latest statistics reveal that Australia now has more certified organic agriculture hectares than the rest of the world put together. Organics is a major success story for Australia and the achievement of global majority (51%) is an important organics milestone. Organic agriculture is reported from 181 countries. Australia reported 35,645,038 certified organic hectares and the world total is 69,845,243 hectares. Australia has been the world leader in organics, based on certified organic hectares, since global statistics of organics were first collated and published in 2000. In the two decades since then, global organics has grown at 12% per annum (pa), year on year, while Australian organics has grown at 16% pa. This growth in Australia has ramped up to 22% for the past five years. In Australia this has been achieved without government support and without institutional support. Australia is at no risk of being ‘knocked off the perch’ anytime soon. In second position is Argentina with 3,385,827 hectares, less than 10% of Australia’s tally. Third is China with 3,023,000 hectares, then comes Spain with 2,082,173 ha, then USA with 2,031,318 ha. Of eight states and territories in Australia, all report some organics. The states in the lead are South Australia and Queensland. Of the country’s agricultural land, 8.8% is certified organic, so there is still plenty of room for improvement. Organic agriculture produces premium products that attract a price premium in the market, whether at home or abroad. At the present rate of growth Australia can be expected to shortly join the ‘10% Club’, along with the leaders Liechtenstein (37.9%), Samoa (37.6%), Austria (24.0%), Estonia (20.5%), and ten others. The market for Australian organic produce is mostly driven by the world’s appetite for clean and nutritious food, ultimately that means by discerning consumers with the wherewithal to pay the organic premium. Meanwhile, the world’s consumers are becoming more informed, more discerning, more health conscious, and more wealthy. No one would eat glyphosated food if they had a choice, which is to say, an informed choice. The prospects for global and Australian organics are good.
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