WA organic industry continues to thrive
West Australian Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman has praised the extraordinary recent growth of the organic industry in Western Australia.
“Farm gate sales of certified organic produce have increased by more than 80 per cent in the past three years in Australia and the WA organic industry is experiencing a similar rise in demand from consumers,” Mr Redman told members of the Organic Growers Association of Western Australia (OGAWA) at a function in Perth last night to celebrate National Organic Week.
The retail value of organic sales in WA is now estimated to be between $40million and $50million a year, growing by up to 30 per cent per annum.
“WA has about 200 certified organic operators across all agricultural sectors, ranging from small mixed farm businesses to large scale investment driven businesses,” the Minister added. “The State produces a wide range of organic products including many fruits and vegetables, meats, grains, dairy products, award winning organic wines and olive products and an increasing range of grocery products like tofu, juice and children’s fruit purees.”
Farmers’ markets, which have been growing in popularity amongst shoppers, have been a great source for organic products. The Minister noted that organic has also become more mainstream as demand has strengthened.
“Farmers’ markets have become a popular place for buying organic products and provide a great opportunity to buy fresh product directly from the organic producer,” he said. “Specialty retail shops and supermarkets are also increasing their range of organic products. The wonderful flavour of organic foods is also making its way into restaurants and cafes.”
Mr Redman also launched a discount scheme for members of OGAWA for organic produce from participating businesses.
“The member discount scheme will seek to stimulate local demand for organic food, providing incentives to consumers to support WA businesses,” he claimed. “A total of 25 businesses have already registered with the scheme and I’m sure more will join as the demand for certified organic produce in WA continues to rise.”