Australia's organic sector is forging out a path with high-value, traceable products for consumers. The industry was worth just under $1 billion nine years ago, and according to the Australian Organic Market Report 2019, Australian produced organic goods are now valued at $2.6 billion.
Close to 36 million hectares of Australian farmland is certified organic, representing approximately 9.6 per cent of all of Australia's agricultural land. This figure has tripled since the start of the decade, particularly as pastoral land has been converted to meet the growing demand for organic beef and sheep meat.
On the certification front, the number of certified operators has also significantly increased, growing from 3069 in 2011 up to 4802 in 2018. According to Australian Organic CEO Niki Ford, major supermarkets like Woolworths, Coles and Aldi as well as independent grocery stores were offering more organic products than ever before.
Ms Ford said most consumers go into organic primarily through produce. This can be seen in the 2019 market report, with organic fruit and vegetables the most likely to be purchased monthly, and eggs and dairy following suit.
Recognising this, the Woolworths Organic Fund was established in late 2018 to provide interest-free loans to organic enterprises for land acquisition, new produce varieties, new facilities and equipment.