Foundation memberships now available
Become a member of the interim peak body which represents Australia's organic industries in government forums and industry initiatives.
Organic Industries of Australia Ltd is a new and independent organisation which acts in the interests of all certified organic operators.
There are two categories of membership—Full Membership for certified organic operators and Associate Membership for others. Membership is only $10.
Foundation Memberships are also available for a limited time for $250.
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Letter to Parliamentarians on gene editing methods
The following letter has been sent to the Health Minister and key parliamentarians in respect of the Government's deregulation of gene editing methods.
8 August 2019
As shown in OIA's recent Export Strategy (https://organicindustries.com.au/exports), the Organic industry continues to be shining light of export market growth in Australia.
Under the new definitions of GMOs nearly three decades of work by thousands of farmers is under threat because many GMOs (as defined by our export markets) will no longer be registered, regulated or labelled in Australia, hampering traceability and making organic status almost impossible to verify in Australia.
Australian organic exports rely on produce meeting the organic standards as set by importing countries. In China, Europe and other markets, SDN1 and CRISPR – CAS9 technology does not comply with those standards. Under this move, Australian organic product could no longer be certified as organic on those and other premium export markets.
To comprehend the impact of the proposed changes on the organic industry, consider:
- The global organic market is worth US$97 billion in 2017.
- The Australian organic industry is worth A$2.6 billion. *
- Of that value, 26% is export, and the premium for organic products is at least 20%.
- Therefore the “worst case” current cost to Australia of loss of premium organic markets is as much as A$520 million in premiums alone.
- There is no compensation plan for this loss.
However, the longer term opportunity cost is potentially higher, with the organic industry still growing at a rate of 45% per annum. Also needing to be measured are the undue financial and compliance costs that will be imposed on the Australian organic industry in order to avoid complete export market collapse; costs that our competitors will not have to worry about.
Parliament has until 12 September 2019 to disallow the regulatory amendments. We implore you to support the call for:
- a Senate inquiry into the impacts of the Gene Technology Amendment (2019 Measures No. 1) Regulations 2019, including detailed analysis along the lines above and into the creation of a compensation fund for loss of export income;
- no deregulation of new GMOs until they are accepted by all premium agricultural export markets;
- keeping and strengthening the Gene Technology Act 2000, the cornerstone of Australia's evidence-based regulatory system for GM animals, plants and microbes.
Chair, Organic Industries Australia
Footnote: Australian Organic Market Report 2019—Australian Organic Ltd
Add your voice on organic industry policy issues
We need an industry peak body
Back in December 2016, the Minister for Agriculture called a broad range of representatives of organic agriculture in Australia to a meeting in Canberra.
Growers, processors, certifiers, industry consultants and departmental staff came together at Parliament House to address the issue of a growing multi-billion dollar industry that had no effective coordinated national representation.
We were a powerful collective, but with limited capability to focus that power for our mutual benefit. Nowhere was this weakness more obvious than when it came to speaking direct to government.
Establishing an interim peak body
Over the last two years, a group of around 30 representatives has deliberated on a peak body for our industry. Organic Industries Australia (OIA) was established as the next step in that process.
OIA is a not‑for‑profit company with an agenda to progress a single standard, look at pathways to domestic organic legislation, improve export market access, and respond to GMO and biosecurity issues.
OIA will focus on issues which require industry‑wide representation, where political factors and legislation are part of the solutions we seek, and where strategic actions can leverage great outcomes.
Membership of the peak body is now open
To effectively represent certified organics in Australia, we need to expand well beyond our original group of members. We have a goal to attract at least 25% of our industry as members this year.
We have set membership at a low $10 per annum to both grow our numbers quickly and because effective representation is more important to us than anything else. If we can take the voice of 1000 certified operators to Canberra, then we will be heard—there is no doubt.
If you can afford to contribute a little more, foundation memberships are available until 31 December for $250.
Please join with us—just $10 will make a difference
With your support, we can begin to address the issues that have been restricting our industry for decades. Please join OIA today. Your $10 contribution will secure your voice both within the OIA on policy and development issues, as well as in the corridors of power where it counts.
$10 might seem like very little to have your voice heard … but, when you join with a thousand others in your industry, that individual voice will become a powerful chorus that cannot be ignored.
Thank you if you're already a member. Otherwise, please click here to go to our online membership page. You can join immediately via credit card or we can invoice you.
There is nothing more important for certified organics in Australia today than to have a single unified voice. Your membership will help ensure that voice is truly representative of our industry.
Thank you for your support.
Chair, Organic Industries Australia
Market Visit—Hong Kong and Singapore
Organic Supermarket Visits, In-Market and On-Shelf
Australia’s reputation on the global stage is solid. Clean, green manufacturing and stringent organic certifications have ensured that we live up to our reputation as a land of beauty rich and rare. No small part of this owes to our geographic isolation – and this is both our greatest challenge and our greatest opportunity.
Australian businesses are commonly unaware of the demand for their products, how to get those products into the right hands and on the most lucrative shelves. Combined with cultural nuances that sometimes seem hazy at best; as a nation, too many opportunities are passing us by.
There are many ways to tackle this problem, but the most direct by far is to go to market yourself. This offers a number of advantages – from the chance to form timely and accurate insights, to the ability to build long term productive partnerships. Of course, it’s much harder (and the progress potentially much slower) if you go it alone.
Seeing this need – and this opportunity – Export Connect and Organic Industries of Australia set out to deliver an intensive Organic Market Visit Program for six brave Australian organic companies to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong together. The program, which concludes on 10 September with an insights forum, combines market research; competitor analysis; supermarket visits in August 2018; and meetings with buyers from retail, distribution and eCommerce channels.
Supermarket visits provide an opportunity to gauge marketplace trends for yourself. In this way, you can better understand the types of products currently on shelf, packaging, merchandising; and thus the opportunities in each market. We chose to target high-end supermarket stores as well as smaller neighbourhood shops and boutique stores that specialise in healthy and organic products. In this way, our clients would be able to form a comprehensive overview of the various stores, prices and people in each market.
In addition to supermarket visits, we outlined products of interest which were already on-shelf and online in each market for our team, from price on-shelf to product claims. This in-depth analysis aided our clients in creating an export price list and pitch to present to buyers during their curated in-market meetings.
Our first full day in both Singapore and Hong Kong was packed with supermarket visits to ensure that our team would have a good understanding of the market and their competitors before their appointments with buyers. We want our team to be as prepared as possible to answer any questions buyers may have. These questions might range from their product’s suitability in the market, to its ability to be promoted in the market.
In each city, we visited 8-10 supermarkets. Singapore saw visits to Fairprice and Fairprice Finest, Supernature, Brown Rice Paradise, Marketplace by Jasons, Little Farms, Cold Storage and Four Seasons Organic Market. Some of our clients already had their products in stores, which was a real treat for them – some for the first time – to be able to see their products on shelf in an overseas market! In Hong Kong we visited Marketplace by Jasons, Wellcome, Park N Shop, Taste, ThreeSixty, CitySuper, Oliver’s, GREAT Food Hall, Just Green Organic Convenience Store and The Store.
Only on-the-ground research, inherently up-to-date, can provide the most nuanced and relevant insights. We noted, in particular, certain differences between supermarkets in both markets.
Singaporean supermarkets and stores showed a strong organic/health food focus with many stores offering an organic-only section in their store. A majority of the smaller stores stocked more organic produce and functional foods than conventional produce. In Hong Kong, however, we noticed that there was not as much of a focus on organic food. While some supermarkets did stock organic produce and had dedicated organic sections, these sections weren’t as extensive as those in Singaporean supermarkets. Interestingly, some health and organic food specific stores were much smaller in scale and focussed primarily on online e-commerce websites for traffic. These stores were usually located in areas with a large population of expats and were stocked with international brands of health food, snacks and supplements.
The future of Australian organic food manufacturing is bright. With golden soil and wealth for toil, the only thing between us and our opportunities is an aeroplane, an itinerary … and a strapping tour guide, to advance Australia fair.
To celebrate Organic Awareness Month, we will be providing more market insights from this trip – keep an eye out! And remember to book into our Organic Food Exporters Forum in Melbourne on 10 September. For those wanting insights beyond the organic space, Singapore and Hong Kong; we are also running a Food & Beverage Exporters Forum on the same day, looking at markets such as North America, China, and the Middle East; covering categories such as cereals, snacks, biscuits, beverages and baby food (to name a few).
Register now to avoid missing out!
A voice for Australia's organic industries
Communique — Thursday 15 February 2018
An organic industry roadmap
Industry unites to establish a new peak body
Today, in an expression of unity at the Love Organic symposium in Canberra, Australia’s organic industries agreed to establish a new peak body that is the voice for Australia’s organic industries in regard to policy and market access.
Organic Industries of Australia is an incorporated association that will now perform the functions of the Australia Organic Industry Working Group (AOIWG) as a forum for consulting with Government on policy matters.
The new peak body will also work with all organic leaders to consider various options for the establishment of a permanent peak body. These options include merging functions with Australian Organic Ltd, merging with the Organic Federation of Australia, and considering other actions to demonstrate unity of purpose across all certified organic operators.
The independent chair of the AOIWG, and the President of the Organic Industries of Australia, is Greg McNamara. He said ‘as a rapidly growing and diverse industry, spanning food and cosmetic production, manufacturing and distribution, one common vision has emerged: “To create a unified voice for Australia’s organic industries to negotiate policy reforms with Governments and that helps the industry capitalise on the growing global demand for organic products”’.
This vision was endorsed by all industry delegates.
Last night, Parliamentarians enjoyed a delicious BBQ and beverages at a Love Organic event hosted by the Parliamentary Friends of Primary Industries. The Prime Minister, the Hon Malcom Turnbull MP, addressed the gathering and acknowledged the importance to the Australian economy of the organic sector and the growth in organic production and exports.
The industry welcomed the opportunity to celebrate its world class organic produce and its unified purpose to represent all certified organic operators. There will be an opportunity over coming months for all organic operators to have their say on the work of the peak body.
Organic Industries of Australia
0414 700 214
140 industry delegates attended the Love Organic symposium in Canberra on 14 & 15 February. The symposium considered issues around establishing a unified peak body.
The Australian Organic Industry Working Group was a collaboration of industry leaders from across Australia collaborating on establishing a harmonised national voice for all organic producers, certifiers and the supply chain.
AOIWG is replaced by Organic Industries of Australia, an association incorporated in NSW.
The AOIWG considered a consultants’ report on this matter, A proposed roadmap for Australia’s organic industry: Considering options for the leadership of the industry, which was publicly released on 13 November 2017. It is available at https://www.organicindustries.com.au/ConsultationPaper
Further information about the AOIWG and the new peak body for Australia’s organic industries can be found at https://www.organicindustries.com.au/AboutOneVoice