The number of growers entering the organic sector is growing exponentially, according to the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA)
The South Australian-based company has spent the past 28 years providing internationally-recognised organic certification for businesses in Australia and has seen demand for its services grow, as organic products become more popular.
A 2014 global marketplace report shows consumption growth for organic vegetables has risen 13 per cent for vegetables over the last two years, with NASAA estimating the value of the total global organic sector to be in the vicinity of US$91bn.
Australia, - the world largest certified agricultural producer with about 22m ha in full conversion – remains a key focus NASAA, however, the company has seen a surge in international inquiries over the last decade. NASAA now certifies around 1000 operations in 14 countries worldwide, including the US, Japan, South Korea and China. The company occupies a particular unique opening in the People’s Republic.
“We are heavily audited by these countries to ensure we are meeting the requirements those countries demand,” explained NASAA general manager Ben Copeman. “From a consumer viewpoint, this auditing process guarantees the integrity of all certified organic products. We are the only organisation outside of China authorised to inspect internationally-based operators for that market.”
Copeman admitted production of certified organic produce hasn’t kept pace with consumer demand, with organic certification normally taking growers around three years to attain. The relatively long transition period has not deterred interest in the sector.
“In 2013 we had 186 inquiries in Australia about organic accreditation. In 2014 it jumped to 748 and this year we expect well over a 1000,’’ Copeman said.