ORGANICS industry stakeholders will meet in Canberra next month to discuss the direction of the Federal Government’s organic program, and deliberate on the formation of a new peak industry body.
The Love Organic symposium being held in Canberra on 14 and 15 February will bring together stakeholders, regulators and government personal to discuss the sector’s future.
The recent move by Australian Organic, the largest organic industry body, to divest its certifying business ACO (Australian Certified Organic), has paved the way for significant industry reform in advocacy and other peak body representative functions.
The Federal Government, as part of proposed new Export Legislation, has started a Regulatory Impact Study (RIS) into the Government Organic Program, being conducted by Deloitte Access Economics. Industry input is being sought by the end of February.
One area under review is the ability of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to negotiate Market Access for Australian Organic producers.
Organics industry consultant, Marg Will, from Organic Systems & Solutions, said that in the 15 years since Australia first applied to have direct access to the US organic marketplace, producers had paid more than $2 million in additional certification fees and suffered an estimated $1 billion in lost trade opportunities.
“While we applaud the recent efforts of the Department in securing meetings with our trading partners, and completing the complex negotiation processes with Korea, we need to ensure that organic producers are never disadvantaged again, and direct access to such markets as the US is finally granted,” she said.
Ms Will also is the Secretariat of the Organic Industry Standards and Certification Council.
“The Department and OISCC have just completed the first round of paperwork for the market access negotiations with China. This has the potential to create more than $2 billion in additional exports by 2025, which would effectively double the current organic production in Australia,” she said.
“I believe it’s beneficial to all Australian agriculture that such market access issues are dealt with through both Department of Trade FTA negotiations, as well as Department of Agriculture, and this is a position we will put forward in Canberra at the upcoming meeting. I urge all stakeholders need to be actively involved in the review process and have their say.”
The Symposium is being held by the current Organics Industry Working Group, which consists of stakeholders from organic Certifiers, producers, processors, exporters and retailers. The venue will be the Old Parliament House, Canberra. Keynote international speakers and industry leaders will form part of the two-day program.
The Symposium will also feature a BBQ at Parliament House on 14 February, hosted by the Parliamentary Friends of Primary Producers.
- Click here to access further information about the symposium.